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Full text of "Evelyn Harcourt. A novel"

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L I B R.ARY 

OF THE 

UNIVERSITY 

or ILLINOIS 

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EVELYN HARCOURT. 



A NOVEL. 



BY 

THE AUTHOR OF " TEMPTATION, OR, A WIFE's PERIL 
" THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES," ETC. 



IN THREE VOLUMES. 



VOL. in. 



LONDON: 

HENRY COLBURN, PUBLISHEK, 

GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET. 

1847. 



F. Shobei), Jun,, Printer to EI.UJI. Prince Albert, Rupert Street. 



I/, J 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 



f^ I fear you have sold your own lands ; then to have 
~" seen much, and to have nothing, is to have rich eyes, and 
poor hands. 

As You Like It. 

She is indeed most fascinating, but icy natures are a 
chilling sort of thing, after all. 

Miss Bremer. 

To all she was polite without parade — 
To some she showed attention of that kind 
Which flatters ; but is flattery conveyed 
In such a sort as cannot leave behind 
A trace, unworthy either wife or maid. 

Lord Byron. 

I am not prone to weeping, as our sex 
Commonly are. 

Winter's Tale. 

Lord and Lady Truro, apparently little 
mindful of the unfortunate being whose lot 
in life they had, by their selfish ambition, 

VOL. III. B 



2 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

been the means of so cruelly blighting, were 
at this period leading a gay life on the Conti- 
nent — gay, at least, in appearance. 

At six-and-twenty, Lord Truro, having 
become what is called his own m^ter, had 
succeeded to a very fine estate and clear in- 
come of eighteen thousand a year, besides a 
considerable sum in ready money ; and now 
he had somewhere about eight hundred on 
which to live, and that was all. It may well 
be supposed that he found this sum rather 
small for his wants, it being somewhat less 
than he was in the habit of spending yearly 
upon his dress alone ; but he had no one to 
thank for his fallen circumstances but him- 
self. He had been warned against peril again 
and again, and he had blindly persisted in 
rushing into the very midst of it, in spite of 
all entreaties, all advice. He had deliberately 
shut his eyes to the destruction that awaited 
him ! Most assuredly he had no one to blame 
for his reverses but himself. 



^:.. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 3 

His wife who, whatever were her faults, 
was at least innocent of any share in bringing 
about the ruin his mad extravagance and 
gambling propensities had occasioned, was 
never heard to insinuate in his presence even 
the smallest reproach. Whatever might be 
her coldness, her worldliness, or frivolity, as 
a wife, and to such a man, she certainly per- 
formed her duties well. Not only did she 
contrive to keep within her own pitiful allow- 
ance, but still to dress becomingly, if not 
handsomely ; and to render herself as piquante 
in her appearance, and as attractive in her 
manners, as she had ever been, in the palmy 
days of her Grosvenor Square career. 

Above all, she unceasingly endeavoured to 
lay herself out to please the fickle and vola- 
tile Lord Truro — and so far she succeeded 
that when he was with her he was good- 
natured and agreeable ; — but still, as ever, the 
greater portion of his time was spent away 
from home in the pursuit of forbidden objects, 

B 2 



4 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

and she found herself neglected in Italy as 
she had been in London. She might easily 
have revenged herself, and paid him back in 
his own coin; but she never made such an 
attempt, nor even contemplated such an idea. 
Still strikingly pretty, with unexceptionable 
manners, and occupying an acknowledged 
position in the fashionable world, there were 
plenty of her own countrymen, as well as of 
foreigners, who would gladly have under- 
taken the pleasing task of consoling the 
neglected wife for the errors of her dissolute 
husband. But whether from natural cold- 
ness, from principle or prudence, she never 
gave the smallest encouragement to overtures 
of this kind, and passed through the severe 
ordeal of Parisian and Florentine society, 
without so much as a word being breathed 
against her name. Hers had indeed been a 
" sort manquey In other hands, she might 
have made an estimable, perhaps even a 
remarkable character ! 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 5 

Helen had written to her, as soon as Eve- 
lyn's recovery had been established beyond a 
doubt, and had informed her of the terrible 
infirmity which that severe illness had left 
behind it ; an infirmity which Dr. A — , by 
the way, was of opinion might have been 
altogether averted, had greater care been 
taken at the commencement of that illness. 

Helen gave a touching description of the 
manner in which she was continually recur- 
ring to Lady Truro ; and her deep anxiety 
about her, and earnest delight at her reco- 
very, had been amongst the first and most 
decided proofs of her returning consciousness. 
She entreated her to write frequently to 
Evelyn, and, if possible, to hold out some 
hope of their soon meeting again, as towards 
that point all her wishes seemed most earnestly 
to tend. 

This letter was despatched the very day 
after Mr. Eridge's departure for Oriel; and 
when Lady Truro received it, the English 



6 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

papers were teeming with accounts of the 
melancholy catastrophe that had taken place 
there. We will not pretend to say that she 
could read either the one or the other with- 
out some degree of feeling — perhaps no human 
being could have done so; but, accustomed 
as she was to live in an atmosphere of world - 
liness, she had long since learnt to set what 
feeling she really possessed aside, and to allow 
reason and self-interest alone to have weio-ht 
in governing her conduct. After due con- 
sideration, she inferred two things from Helen's 
letter ; one, that Evelyn was most desperately 
anxious, under any circumstances, to return 
to her protection ; the other, that Mrs. Percy 
was equally anxious that she should do so, 
probably because she wished to get rid of her 
herself. 

Now it was one thing, Lady Truro thought, 
to bring out a beautiful cousin in London, 
where she might hope to make a brilliant 
match, and at any rate must entail eclat on 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 7 

her chaperon, and another to be saddled with 
a love-sick, desponding, and, above all, blind 
cousin, who was totally debarred by her mis- 
fortune not only from marrying brilliantly, 
but from ever marrying at all. Above all 
things. Lady Truro detested whatever was 
affecting or shocking to her feelings, bestow- 
ing upon those imaginary sensations as much 
thought as though they really formed a con- 
siderable part of her composition. It ended 
in her writing an answer to Helen, which, 
though abounding in condolences and as- 
surances of sympathy, yet contained so many 
allusions to the utter impossibility of her 
ever having Evelyn with her again, that Helen 
not only saw through the selfish considera- 
tions that had prompted it, but actually re- 
frained from reading it to Evelyn, lest she 
should perceive them too. 

As for herself, she was little surprised, 
though she might be grieved to find, that not 
even so great a misfortune as Evelyn's could 



8 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

warm the heart of Lady Truro towards her. 
She had always suspected that the affection 
which that lady professed to entertain for her 
lovely young cousin was not of that disin- 
terested nature which poor Evelyn's generous 
and ardent disposition, unsuspicious of evil, 
had led her to believe. 

It was the intention of the Truros to spend 
the autumn and winter at Naples, and in the 
mean time they were passing the hotter 
months at Castella Mare. Several English 
families happened to be there that season, and 
altogether a very pleasant little society was 
assembled at that lovely place, of which Lady 
Truro reigned, of course, the undisputed 
queen. Lord Truro was constantly making 
excursions to the neighbouring islands, and 
he would frequently absent himself for weeks 
together, leaving her in total ignorance as to 
where he was. She was, therefore, very fre- 
quently alone, and to any one of different 
mind and stronger feelings it would have been 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 9 

a most dangerous position ; but, as we have 
already seen, she seemed to be either entirely 
above or totally insensible to all temptation. 
Fond of admiration she certainly was, and 
nobody enjoyed society more ; but, though she 
was universally attractive, there were certain 
limits beyond which she never suffered her 
intimacies to go ; and this was now so per- 
fectly well understood, that most of the habi- 
tues of her house had " pris leur parti,'' and 
given up all hopes of making any impression 
upon the beautiful but cold-hearted and im- 
passible Englishwoman. 

Whatever might be her motives, Lady Truro 
certainly showed her wisdom by the line of 
conduct she adopted at this period ; for there 
was no other that could possibly have ensured 
her against that terrible evil of Italian society, 
the beinfj what is called " talked of." She 
might have been as pure as she was — far more 
amiable, and perhaps more really good, and yet 
have been exceedingly *' talked of." It was her 

s5 



10 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

prudence and her tact — not her principle — 
that saved her. 

It was about this time that the Duke of 
Shetland arrived at Castella Mare. He and 
Lady Truro had not met since the period of 
the duel, and at first there was a certain 
degree of natural coldness and constraint be- 
tween them ; but this soon wore off, under 
the influence of her pleasant conversation and 
agreeable manners. When she had been in 
Italy the previous year, she had been too ill 
to mix at all in society ; her life indeed was 
at that time in a most precarious state. But 
now, wherever he went, he heard her lauded 
to the skies; '*she was so beautiful, so lively, 
so charming, and, above all, so admirably well 
conducted ! She was an angel, and an ill- 
used one !" Now the Duke had never looked 
upon her in the light of an angel before, nor 
was he much disposed to do so now. He 
certainly could not blame her for his disap- 
pointment with regard to Evelyn Harcourt, 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 1 1 

for she had done her very best, from first to 
last, to promote his views in that quarter; still, 
he could not think her conduct in any part 
of that transaction had been by any means 
angelic. 

It was the first time in his prosperous and 
adulated life that he had ever found himself 
thwarted in any desire of his — the first time 
that he had failed in obtaining any one 
thing upon which he had really set his ducal 
heart — and he firmly believed that there did 
not exist throughout the whole of the British 
dominions one other woman besides Evelyn 
Harcourt who would have despised his suit, 
as she had persisted in doing so determinately. 

After the duel, which had been wholly un- 
provoked on the part of Mr. Sherborne, but 
which the Duke's own ungovernable violence 
had unavoidably brought on, he had been con- 
fined some time from the effects of his wounds ; 
but the very moment he was permitted to see 
any one, he had sent for Lord Truro, in order 



12 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

to make inquiries respecting Evelyn. And 
when informed, at length, as delicately as 
possible, of the melancholy truth, and of the 
hopeless state to which she was reduced, even 
he, cold and selfish man of the world as he was, 
could not stifle some " remorseful visitings of 
conscience" for the share, the very large share 
he had had in blighting that young and inno- 
cent existence. Here was indeed an end of 
their engagement — an engagement which he 
had sworn no earthly power should induce 
him to give up — and an awful end it was. 
But he could never forget her — the only being 
besides himself he had ever really loved — no 
one could ever replace her in his heart. 

In a fit of disgust and utter depression of 
spirits, he quitted England, and, scarcely know- 
ing in what direction to turn his steps, made his 
way to Italy, and found himself at last, as we 
have already said, at Castella Mare. At first, 
the sight of Lady Truro had been rather dis- 
tasteful to him, recalling, as it did, somewhat 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 13 

too forcibly, her he had lost; but, after a 
time, he began to take pleasure in conversing 
with her upon that one favourite subject ; and 
he sought her day after day. She was always 
the same ; always gentle, apparently sympa- 
thizing, and ready to listen to him ; and a 
patient listener is a very great blessing, espe- 
cially when a man has but one whom he can 
confide in. He soon found that he was no- 
where so happy as at Lady Truro's ; indeed, 
he was very far from happy anywhere else. 
He felt grateful to her for lier kindness and 
sympathy ; there could be no selfish interest 
in it now. She owed him nothing ; he had 
refused to assist her husband in his moment 
of utmost difficulty, upon the plea that the 
engagement was unfulfilled, upon which his 
promise of assistance had rested. She owed 
him no gratitude, therefore, and the ruin 
which she had formerly looked to him to 
avert had actually come upon her. 

The Duke began to think what every one 



14 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

said was true, and that there was something 
very fascinating about Lady Truro, which he 
had never perceived before. He occasionally 
caught himself almost involuntarily admiring 
her soft blue eyes and pure English com- 
plexion, about which all the Italians were half 
crazy; and there was something, too, unques- 
tionably interesting in her delaissee condition, 
and her perfect conduct under it ; never utter- 
ing herself, nor allowing to be uttered in her 
presence, a single word reflecting, however 
remotely, on the faults or the neglect of her 
husband. She was undoubtedly worthy of 
better things; and the Duke began to find 
that, either from the constant habit of seeing 
her, or the absence of any object more 
interesting, her society was becoming rather 
more necessary to his comfort than was de- 
sirable, or perhaps strictly correct. 

He tried for a time to avoid her, and sought 
her house less often ; but it would not do. 
He soon found himself wending his way there 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 1 5 

at the accustomed hours, and her smile of 
welcome at his entrance and gentle pressure 
of his hand in her own soft taper fingers were 
too pleasant to be relinquished. He would 
rather, it is true, not get to care reallij for 
the woman, for, if he did so, he must win 
her, coiUe que coiite, and it appeared she was 
not so easily to be won ; but he would resign 
himself to what chance miorht brintr forth. 
His disappointment had occasioned an indo- 
lence — a kind of apathy — which made hiui 
look at all things with something very like 
indifference. 

In the mean time, Lord Truro returned, 
and for ten days remained at Castella Mare ; 
but, at the end of that period, he set off again 
with a wild, harum-scarum, young Irish 
Viscount, ostensibly to travel in Sicily and 
make some stay at Palermo, but in reality for 
various other objects which he and his com- 
panion thought proper to keep to themselves. 

Lady Truro did all in her power to dissuade 



1 6 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

him from this expedition, both on account of 
the expense, and because she disapproved not 
a little of the influence of his companion ; but, 
as usual, he turned a deaf ear to her remon- 
strances, and only laughed good-humouredly 
at what he thought proper to term her stingy 
disposition. She could not flatter herself 
that as yet she had acquired the smallest in- 
fluence over him. 

When the Duke called upon her a few hours 
afterwards, he perceived, to his astonishment, 
traces of recent tears upon her countenance ! 

Now, tears with Lady Truro were symptoms 
of no ordinary emotion, for it was not often 
she yielded to such proofs of womanly weak- 
ness ! She was known, indeed, to despise 
them. What, then, could be the matter? 
The Duke must endeavour to find out ; so he 
sat down beside her, and prepared for a very 
tender scene !... 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 1 7 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

I a passion have for thee, 
Greater and fiercer much than can 
Be conceived by thee. 

Ode from Catullus. 

. . . . But I have 
That honourable grief lodged here, which burns 
Worse than tears drown. 

Winter's Tale. 

And I, of all mankind, can love but him alone. 

Prior. 

. . . . ffis eye 

Stray'd, his affection in unlawful love, 
A sin prevailing much in youthful men. 

" It is enough !" said Lady Truro ; — " for 
what you have already said, I forgive you — 
but remember, Duke, if you would not have 
me give up your society altogether, and banish 
you from this house, you must make up your 



18 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

mind never again to allude to any fault of 
Truro's in my presence." 

" And why ? — I should have thought one 
v^ho had known you as I have might have 
ventured. . ." 

Lady Truro smiled — 

" When friends venture to discuss the 
faults of husbands to their wives, those 
wives may question their friendship for the 
husbands at least. — But, never mind ! I do 
not doubt yours for me. I believe you have 
a sincere regard for me, only . . . . " 

'* ' Regard !' how I hate that abominable, 
frigid, unmeaning word ! Oh, Lady Truro — 
you cannot but have read my feelings ; — you 
must know that I love you — " 

A slight blush overspread Lady Truro's 
face at these words — she paused a moment, 
before she replied with some formality, 

'' Your grace forgets ; — it was but the 
other day you were speaking to me of Miss 
Harcourt — describing your love for her ! . . . " 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 19 

" And I spoke truly. I never can forget 
Evelyn Harcourt ; and it is perhaps because 
the idea of her is so associated with you, that 
I have learnt to love you." 

" Let us talk rationally," said Lady Truro, 
resuming her usual pleasant and cordial 
manner ; " I will be open with you. You 
know, Duke, that I have contrived to pass 
through the world till now, often under trying- 
circumstances, not only without giving cause 
for slander, but without so much as a breath 
against my name. You know this, and can 
you have so little interest, so little real friend- 
ship for me as to see me fall from that pre- 
eminent position — that at the eleventh hour..." 

" Do not ask me what I wish !" exclaimed 
the Duke — '' I only know that I love you, 
and feel indignantly the neglect with which 
you are treated. Oh, Barberina ! dear Bar- 
berina ! suffer me this once to call you so — 
will you not allow me to hope that one day 
at least you will reward my love with some- 



20 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

thing warmer than the mere regard you 
speak of — " 

Oetoit enfin parler. As he spoke, he took 
her hand. He certainly could be fascinating 
when he chose it ; and he knew it ; — but 
what Duke would not be fascinating to the 
generality of women — especially when in 
love ? — 

Lady Truro withdrew her hand ; — but she 
sighed, and for a moment made no reply. 
This seemed to him decided encouragement. 

" In spite of our knowing each other so 
long — " he whispered ; — " somehow or other, 
I never felt half that there is to admire and 
love in you till now. How blind I was !" 

" Not so ; — but you loved another !" 

'' And why do you sigh ? It is true, I 
cannot forget that love; — but is it not over, 
as much as if it had never been ? I suppose 
you know me better than to imagine I would 
ever saddle myself with a blind or an insane 
wife?" 



EVELYN HARCOURT. ^21 

" I do, indeed ; — such an idea never even 
crossed mj mind." 

" Well, then ! I loved her dearly ; but it 
is past, and she might be in her grave for 
me ... . And now, why are you sad, sweet 
Barberina ?" 

" Because," she replied, with melancholy 
gravity, *' I was thinking by what possible 
means to preserve the friend, whilst I discard, 
as I must and will, the lover. Listen to me, 
Duke. I have said I will be open with you — 
for we have, indeed, known each other long, 
and been thrown together under peculiar and 
trying circumstances. I have lately sym- 
pathized with your natural disappointment, 
and you, being touched by my sympathy, 
have learnt to cherish a tenderer feeling for 
me than you ever thought to entertain. Pity, 
too, has led you to think of me with kindness ; 
— and pity, we know, is akin to love. But 
hear my answer. As I have lived, so will I 
die — faithful and true to my husband. I 



22 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

never can — I never will — be more to you than 
I am now ! — " 

As she uttered these words, a shade of 
displeasure passed over the brow of the 
Duke, and he slightly frowned. It was a 
quality of his disposition, like that of 
most petted favourites of Fortune, that the 
instant a thing he coveted, however slightly, 
was withheld from him, that instant it assumed 
a degree of importance in his eyes, which 
determined him to obtain it, cost what it might. 

"You cannot prevent me from loving you! — ^" 
he said, with something of defiance in his 
tone ; " and why, indeed, should you try ?" 

" But I can close my doors against you ; — 
and that I should regret to be driven to do, 
to one for whom I entertain a real friendship — 
since you cavil at the word regard. I will 
not pretend to deny that your visits of late 
have been to me not only a pleasure, but a 
most decided comfort ! Oh, Duke, let us still 
be friends !" 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 23 

As she spoke, she held out her hand to 
him. He took it, and pressed it to his lips. 

" You must — you shallloYe me yet !" cried 
he passionately ; " if your heart be not too 
cold to be touched by man's dovotion, mine 
shall reach it !" 

** Do not deceive yourself !" she replied, 
resolutely withdrawing her hand ; " I have 
said already, and I repeat it — I never can be 
more to you than I am now ; — a sincere and — 
if you will — a warm friend. Even if my 
principles did not raise an insuperable barrier 
between us, there is another, which you your- 
self would admit the force of !" 

" None, — none ! unless, indeed, you love 
already !" 

" Suppose I do !" 

" Lady Truro, can it be possible? — But 
no ! I do not believe you are capable..." 

'' I am more capable than you imagine. I 
have a heart, though the world, as well as 
yourself, gives me credit for none ; — and that 



24 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

heart I bestowed, foolishly enough, years ago. 
Perhaps if I could, I might recal it now — but 
it is too late. I never can love another !" 

"And who?— who?..." 

" Why should I be ashamed to confess the 
truth — and to you? It was my husband I 
Ay ! yoa may start ; but it is the fact. To 
him I gave my heart ; — not when I married — 
I did not love him then, but soon — very soon 
after. I cannot tell you how or why ; — I 
cannot explain it. Love is at all times in- 
comprehensible, perhaps — it has been so with 
me. I only tell you what is true — what I 
have never told to mortal being besides your- 
self. Perhaps gratitude may have first led 
me to love him. He had elevated me far 
beyond my most ambitious dreams ; he had 
not done as many would have done in similar 
circumstances — trifled with my feelings — en- 
couraged my hopes, and then left me to bear 
my disappointment as I could. No ; — he 
acted more generously — he hesitated not to 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 25 

bestow upon me rank — riches — all he had to 
give — he raised me, in short, to himself, and 
I felt that I owed him gratitude. I vowed 
from my inmost heart that I would devote my 
life to him ; — and soon this gratitude insen- 
sibly ripened into a tenderer feeling ! As 
his affection for me diminished, mine for him 
increased. He left me perfect liberty in all 
things — even when he ceased to care for me, 
he still wished me to be happy, and was 
ojenerous and kind at all times. — And so he 
has ever been; for he has noble qualities, 
believe me. 

" Well, I went into society ; I courted ad- 
miration, for his sake. I hoped, at least, to 
make him feel proud of the wife he had 
chosen, even if he could not love her. At 
that time, I first became acquainted with you ; 
and the year after, as you know, Evelyn Har- 
court came to stay with us. Ah ! that is a 
painful period to look back upon. The world 
thought me so happy then, and I was often so 

VOL. HI. C 



^6 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

miserable ! Imagine m j feelings, loving him 
as I did, when I used to meet him, day after 
day, riding or driving with that horrid Lady 
Augusta Brinckman, who was then all in all 
to him, and whom I knew to be so unworthy 
of him — so indifferent about him, in reality 
— for all that time I know that she was madly 
in love with another person ; though, to serve 
her own purposes, she chose to affect a violent 
passion for Truro, which he was weak enough 
to believe in — and I, all the while, conscious 
that I was devoted, heart and soul, to him ; 
that mine was a holy, an indisputable right; 
that there was nothing I would not joyfully 
sacrifice for him — yet that I was nothing to 
him — able to do nothing for him — not daring 
to express a fondness which I knew was un- 
returned— not venturing to offer advice which 
I knew would not be followed. 

*' The world thought me ignorant of much, 
and careless about more ; — I was neither care- 
less nor ignorant. I knew far more than the 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 27 

world, and felt something more, too. It was 
not for me, however, who had married from 
motives of ambition, and knowing what his 
character was, and who had been, moreover, 
but the favourite of a day, to act the jealous 
wife, and render myself doubly odious to him 
by my grief or my reproaches. On the con- 
trary, I strove to make his home agreeable to 
him when he did seek it ; I stifled every bitter 
feeling in his presence ; and he saw nothing 
but smiles and apparent contentment, when 
my heart was weeping within me. 

" At length, however, I became acquainted 
with the habits of gambling in which he had 
been led to indulge ; more, I believe, from the 
vicious example of others than his own na- 
tural inclination ; and I felt it my duty to 
endeavour, if possible, to arrest so tremen- 
dous an evil. I assumed a certain authority : 
I spoke, for the first time, as a wife — I 
reasoned with him — I entreated — and at 
first I hoped I had produced some ini- 

c 2 



28 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

pression. But soon, as you know, the good 
effect of my words, if good effect there ever 
were — wore off — and... but I will not recall 
that time — it was one of unmitigated suffering 
to me. I had no one to sympathize with me 
— no one to turn to I... I could not speak of 
what was in my mind to Evelyn Harcourt, 
though she soon perceived that I was wretched ; 
for I had sworn a solernn vow to myself never 
to betray his faults to any one ; and faithfully 
have I kept that promise ! 

" The state of my mind, however — the 
constant struggle with my feelings — the con- 
tinual endeavour to seem what I was not — 
at last overcame my strength. I fell into 
bad health. Then came increased anxiety — 
alarm — tremendous losses at play — continual 
embarrassments — remonstrances on my part, 
and occasional resentment on Truro's. It 
Avas all misery — misery — misery ! Yet the 
world thought me indifferent ! Ah ! the 
world often judges without knowing. Trust 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 29 

me, I was not insensible to the fact that my 
child's noble inheritance must become the 
property of gamblers ; — I was not insensible 
to the fact that my generous and open-hearted 
husband was every day sinking lower and 
lower in the esteem of all whose good opinion 
was worth having ; — I was not insensible to 
the fact that a woman utterly unworthy of 
him had usurped the place I should have held 
...but on this point I cannot speak. 

" It was then you came forward. You 
seemed to me like an angel of mercy, ready 
to step in between Truro and ruin ! Yon 
were willing, for Evelyn's sake, to save him ; 
and but for her folly, all might have been 
well. But it is useless to dwell upon that 
now ; it was ordered otherwise. One thing 
I rejoiced at after a time— that my child was 
spared the beggary which must have been his 
portion. And, when ruin came — the ruin I 
had long foreseen — I hoped at least that with 
it might come some mitigation to my trials — 



30 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

that my husband, necessarily removed from 
his pernicious associates and the society of 
that woman, might learn to look upon me 
with different eyes. I did my best. Heaven 
knows. I strove hard to please him — to 
make him love me — and that very striving, 
though, alas ! it succeeded not in its object, 
still served to make him dearer to my heart. 
Yes, Duke, strange as it may seem to you 
(it even does sometimes to me), in spite of all 
his faults — his indifference — his neglect of me 
— 1 still love that man better than anything 
else in the whole wOrld. 

" Judge, then, what chance have you — ^you 
or any other ? — I have that within me which 
steels me against all love !" 

These words had been uttered with a rapid 
energy so unlike Lady Truro's usual calm and 
gentle manner, that the Duke was completely 
taken by surprise. He had certainly mis- 
judged her strangely. He had never imagined 
she possessed one hundredth part of the feel- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 31 

insr she manifested now. And all to be 
thrown away on such an unworthy object — 
one, too, so incapable of appreciating her ! 
But it should not be ! In proportion to the 
value of the object to be gained, and the diffi- 
culties to be overcome, his resolution rose 
stronger and more determined. This woman, 
it seemed, had passions — he would arouse 
them ! She was capable of love ! he would 
excite it in her. He would not be thwarted 
a second time. She should be his ! But, in 
the meanwhile, the more surely to gain his 
object, he must dissemble. 

" It is well," he said, at length, in a melan- 
choly and subdued tone. "I am glad you 
have spoken so openly, for I never could have 
ofuessed all this. It would be difficult to find 
another woman, who, under such circum- 
stances, would act and feel like you. Truro 
is a luckier fellow than he deserves to be ; 
and, perhaps, some day he may have the sense 
to find it out. But, at least, you cannot debar 



32 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

me from the privileges of friendship — to be 
near you — to watch over you — to live for 
you. We may still be friends !" 

And when he felt that soft hand warmly 
return the more prolonged pressure of his 
own, he really believed, for the moment, that 
it was love he felt for Lady Truro. 

From this time, the Duke completely 
altered his plan of operations, and began a 
much more formidable, because more insidious, 
mode of attack. He never spoke to her of 
love; — he carefully avoided the subject; but 
every one of his actions was a tacit declara- 
tion of it. He was scarcely ever absent from 
her side. In her own house — in her walks — 
in her drives — in whatever society she chanced 
to be, he was ever near her — ever on the 
watch to perform each little office of atten- 
tion and galanterie — like one privileged to 
render them. And, whilst scrupulously keep- 
ing between the letter of the bounds she had 
prescribed, he yet contrived incessantly to re- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 33 

mind her of his devotion. Turn which way 
she would, she found it impossible to escape 
from it ; yet it was expressed in a manner 
with which she could scarcely find a fault ; 
for he professed to call it friendship, though 
it certainly far more resembled love ! 

Of course, such devotion in one like him 
could not fail to attract considerable attention 
in a place where everything was sure to be 
known and commented upon ; — and, although 
it was notorious that the Duke was an old 
and intimate friend of Lord Truro's, and had 
been for a length of time engaged to his 
wife's cousin, still, people began to whisper 
that, of all her numerous adorateurs, he 
certainly was the one Lady Truro looked upon 
with the least indifference. Perhaps in time, 
if his patience could only hold out long 
enough, he might be able to make the in- 
teresting discovery whether she really pos- 
sessed a heart or not. 

There is no denying that this was a critical 

c 5 



34 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

period for Lady Truro. Nothing is more 
dangerous than love that assumes the guise of 
friendship ; and, under cover of that name, 
surrounds the object of its worship with all 
the nameless charm, the hidden but delightful 
attentions, which are its own exclusive right. 
There is something, too, in mystery very cap- 
tivating to the imagination of most women. 
Indeed, I believe myself that half the charm 
of love is over when once it has passed from 
the eye to the lip. 

It was indeed a perilous time for Lady 
Truro. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 35 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

Former years 

Arise, and bring forbidden tears. 

Shelley. 

How beautiful ! if sorrow had not made 
Sorrow more beautiful than beauty's self. 

Keates. 

'Twas not the air — 'twas not the words — 
But that deep magic in the chords 
And in the lips that gave such power 
As music knew not till that hour. 

Lalla Rookh. 

A singular and melancholy existence had 
now opened for poor Evelyn, unlike anything 
she had ever before known, or could have 
imagined, and to which death in her eyes 
would have been infinitely preferable. As 
her bodily strength increased, and her recovery 
became confirmed, her spirits sank into still 



o6 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

more hopeless dejection. She had longed for 
death, and believed it to be near ; but as it 
receded from her view, and a long vista of 
years — years of darkness and misery — appeared 
in the distance, her heart sank within her, and 
she fell into a state of depression bordering 
on despair. From this melancholy condition, 
Helen found it impossible to rouse her. Some- 
times she would sit for hours too^ether in the 
same place, neither moving, nor uttering a 
syllable — her darkened eyeballs fixed upon 
some object which to them conveyed no im- 
pression ; — at others, her misery would find 
some relief in tears, and she would take a 
dreary pleasure in recalling the days that 
were gone, and, above all, that sweetest and 
most cherished " spot of memory's waste," the 
period of her love. 

And, oh ! with what beautiful, what en- 
during tenderness was that beloved image 
enshrined in her inmost heart — dearer now 
than ever, for it was all that was left her ! 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 37 

How she loved to hear Helen speak of his 
wonderful genius, his aspiring and lofty nature ! 
And his books ! when was she ever weary of 
listening to them ? Again and again were 
they read to her, till many a page was almost 
involuntarily committed to memory. These 
were her treasures — these her resources in 
hours of solitude and weariness. 

Mrs. Howard shared unceasingly with Helen 
the painful task of endeavouring to soothe her 
perturbed spirit, and procuring something like 
relaxation for her mind, ever so disposed to 
brood upon its own sorrows ; and in this 
labour of love, her own burden became, for a 
period, lighter. She emulated Helen, who 
ever seemed to lay her own griefs by, mighty 
as they were, in order to minister to those of 
Evelyn ; — and what Helen did for Evelyn's 
sake, Mrs. Howard did for hers. 

The mind of poor Evelyn had been so much 
shaken by the various trials she had under- 
gone, that in some respects it had even yet 



38 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

by no means recovered its former tone. She 
seemed to have completely lost all interest 
about the very persons and things that had 
formerly interested her the most intensely. 
She rarely made inquiries on any point, and 
she seemed to take every thing for granted in 
a manner that betokened an apathy totally 
foreign to her natural disposition. She seldom 
alluded to Frederic Percy, or appeared to 
wonder at his protracted absence ; she rarely 
spoke of Mr. Bridge, or of Helen's infant, 
which she knew had been sent to Oriel with 
him. In short, her whole mind and disposi- 
tion seemed to have undergone a complete 
and melancholy change — the more melancholy, 
because it seemed so totally hopeless. 

She was entirely dependent upon Helen, 
not only in such things as concerned her 
daily and hourly comfort, but in a pecuniary 
point of view also. Helen, it will be remem- 
bered, was entitled to rather more than twenty 
thousand pounds upon the death of her grand- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 39 

father ; and the interest of this sum, together 
with what she inherited from her husband, en- 
sured to her for the future an income of about 
eleven hundred pounds a year, a sura amply 
sufficient for all her own wants. But a paltry 
hundred and twenty pounds a year, most of 
it left her by poor Mr. Eridge, was all that 
Evelyn possessed. It was delightful, indeed, 
to a generous and affectionate nature like 
Helen's, to feel that she was able to shield her 
beloved companion not only from actual poverty, 
but from dependance upon strangers; — yet, 
for her sake, she often wished that she were 
richer, for there were many comforts, many 
luxuries, she would gladly have procured for 
her, which now were beyond her means. With 
strict economy, however, and the most rigid 
self-denial, she believed she might do much, 
and oh ! how gladly would she sacrifice any- 
thing for herself in order to obtain for Evelyn 
the most trifling gratification ! 

It was about this time that Evelyn took a 



40 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

sudden fancy to return to Oriel. Though she 
might never behold again the scenes of her 
childhood, she yet wished to pass the wretched 
remainder of her days amongst them, far away 
from all but those who had known and loved 
her as a child. There, a miserable wreck, 
would she await that welcome death which, 
some day at least, must come. 

Dr. A advised that this wish should be 

yielded to, and that she should be at once 
removed as near to her former home as pos- 
sible. It was most important to encourage 
interests of any sort in her mind ; to prevent 
that morbid apathy from increasing upon her, 
which, if not combated, might not improbably 
terminate in confirmed and hopeless melan- 
choly. An arrangement was therefore speedily 
made through Mrs. Howard with the Penrhyn 
family, with whom that lady had of late years 
kept up an occasional correspondence for the 
sake of hearing of Helen, by which it was 
concluded that they should all be received at 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 41 

Wynnesland for the present, the family there 
being much reduced, by the deaths of some 
of the older inmates. This temporary and 
most desirable asylum having been found, 
Helen might, when there, look out at her 
leisure for a permanent abode still nearer to 
her own old home. In the mean time, an ex- 
cuse was made to Evelyn for not going at 
once to Oriel, on the pretence of a desire to 
indulge Mrs. Howard in her fancy to see 
Wynnesland once more ; — and, absurd as this 
excuse was, it completely satisfied her — she 
accepted it with her usual unsuspicious indif- 
ference. 

The journey was performed with perfect^ 
success, and the invalid even seemed to benefit 
by the change. And when once established 
in the comfortable rooms which the warm- 
hearted and hospitable Mrs. Penrhyn had taken 
a pride in ornamenting to the best of her abi- 
lity for her honoured guests, Helen felt some- 
thing more like repose than she had known 



42 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

for many a day. As for Mrs. Howard, she 
could not find herself in the old farm-house 
again without many and varied sensations, but 
they were locked in her own bosom, and those 
of the family who remembered her formerly 
were astonished at the increased command she 
seemed to have acquired over her own feelings. 
Her countenance had not altered in its ex- 
pression, indeed ; — there was still endurance 
portrayed in every line ; — but, in giving her- 
self up to soothe the griefs of others, in 
going out of herself to think of them, her own 
trials had undoubtedly become less heavy. It 
was rarely that she was now compelled to 
^ pass the day alone. She had a project too, 
connected with Evelyn, which occupied her 
mind very constantly, and by which she hoped 
to stimulate her to something more of mental 
exertion for Helen's sake. 

Up to this period, Evelyn had remained in 
total ignorance of the calamities that had 
befallen her friend. She believed her to be 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 43 

equally happy and prosperous as a wife, mo- 
ther, and grandchild ; and never had the most 
remote suspicion crossed her mind that her 
lot was other than most blessed. Helen had 
also succeeded in concealing from her, unob- 
servant and apathetic as she had become, 
every thing relating to the late horrible ca- 
tastrophe at Oriel. Her infirmity, indeed, 
rendered it no difficult matter to deceive her. 
But Dr. A — had one day privately hinted to 
Mrs. Howard, when he chanced to find him- 
self alone with her, and the conversation had 
naturally turned upon Evelyn, that he believed 
it would be the bes* possible thing that could 
happen to her, to learn something of the 
burden that had fallen upon her friend ; for 
it might lead her to feel that it was her duty, 
for that very friend's sake, to exert herself 
more, and make an effort to be cheerful under 
her own trials. 

Upon this hint Mrs. Howard determined to 
speak. She was well aware how much cau- 



44 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

tion, what extreme prudence it would require 
to perform such a task safely and success- 
fully ; but she felt equal to the attempt. She 
had experienced, in her own case, the good 
effects that result from disinterested exertion 
for one's fellow-beings, and she was not with- 
out hopes of being able yet to inspire Evelyn 
with a consciousness that duties still remained 
for her to perform in life. 

We have already, more than once, men- 
tioned Evelyn's extraordinary and, indeed, 
almost unequalled talent for music. Helen 
had hoped much from the revival of this taste, 
which formerly had amounted almost to a 
passion, and the indulgence of which was, 
fortunately, not incompatible with her present 
infirmity. Before they had quitted the neigh- 
bourhood of London, she had written to order 
both a pianoforte and harp ; but, ever mindful 
not only of Evelyn's present gratification but 
of her ultimate good, she had arranged that 
these instruments should not be sent to Wyn- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 45 

nesland for some weeks, in order that her 
strength might be more fully established be- 
fore their arrival, and herself more equal to 
the enjoyment of them. They were now 
come ; and one morning Helen took her into 
the room where they had been placed, and, 
sitting down to the piano, began to play the 
same favourite air which, on a former occa- 
sion, had produced so extraordinary a result. 
The effect was nearly as striking now. Evelyn 
started — raised her beautiful head, now habi- 
tually bent forward in an attitude of dejec- 
tion — and held her breath to listen, whilst 
she turned her eyes in the direction of the 
sounds, as though she would pierce the gloom 
that hid the instrument from her sight. And 
presently tears came trickling down, one by 
one, but gently, and without bitterness ; she 
seemed to weep away her sorrow. There was 
still some pleasure left for her in life ! 

And presently — oh, blessed sight for Helen ! 
— there broke a faint smile over those exqui- 



46 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

site features — the first !...2ind she exclaimed, 
with something' of her own old eagerness, 
" Dearest Helen, ^ou have done this for 
me!...." 



" She has indeed !" said Mrs. Howard, who 
stood by, watching her with tearful eyes: 
" does not she do every thing for you ? And 
here — here is yet another pleasure of her 
procuring !" 

Saying which, she led the unresisting girl 
to the harp, uncovered it, and placed her 
fingers upon the strings. 

Evelyn was silent. She passed her hands 
slowly over the instrument, always her favou- 
rite in past times, and slightly started at the 
sound she herself produced. Then, softly, 
she began to touch it again, as though to 
satisfy herself that it was no delusion. And 
once more the same smile broke over her 
charmed countenance, and for a single moment 
it was radiant, as in days of yore ! 

" Oh, Helen, you are too — too good to me !" 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 47 

" If you are pleased, I am indeed rewarded,'* 
replied Helen, with a sigh of contentment. 
" But now, Evelyn, dearest, let me hear you 
sing — let me hear if you still retain your 
wonderful talent. It is long since I have 
heard you, you know." 

" Ah, yes !" and she passed her hand un- 
easily across her brow — *' very long !....not 
now, not now ! I am blind, you know. Per- 
haps in time . . . . " 

And as her hand wandered confusedly among 
the strings, producing only indistinct and un- 
connected sounds, they saw that a shade of 
sadness had come over her with the remem- 
brance of her infirmity. 

With one accord they left her to her- 
self ; she was not alone with those two 
companions, and she might learn for a time 
to forget her sorrows whilst listening to their 
melody. 

They were right. It was not long before 
the tones of her rich clear voice, which seemed 



48 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

to Helen sweeter than ever, fell upon their 
ears — at first, faint and low, but gradually, 
as she grew excited with her words, rising 
stronger and stronger, till at last they sounded 
far above the beautiful accompaniment of the 
instrument, clear and powerful as in her 
brightest days. But then succeeded a low 
and melancholy strain — one so sad, that it 
almost drew tears from their eyes ; and though 
they could not catch her words, still they were 
sure it was some expression of sorrow for her 
calamity. Her grief was beginning to find a 
voice. So beautiful were those sounds, that 
almost every one in the farm-house gradually 
collected on the stairs to listen, and the avoca- 
tions of the day were for a time neglected. But, 
long after the listeners were gone, she continued 
to play. Hour after hour saw her still there — 
still at her harp, composing new airs, impro- 
vising fresh words. She could scarcely be 
persuaded to give up the necessary time to 
her meals. She swallowed them hastily, 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 49 

begrudging every instant that kept her from 
her new-found pursuit. 

She went to bed that evening actually worn 
out and broken with fatigue, but more peace- 
ful, more composed, than she had been yet 
since her illness, for she had something to 
look forward to in the morning.... And when 
the hour of Helen's solitary vigil arrived, hers 
was indeed a soothing and happy conscious- 
ness. Her own sorrows remained unaltered ; 
but she had this day mingled a degree of 
sweetness in the bitter cup of another, which 
could never be remembered without sensations 
of the deepest gratitude on her own part. 

From that day, occupation was seldom want- 
ing to Evelyn ; her harp and her piano were 
her unfailing companions, the interpreters of 
all her varied emotions. Under the softening 
influence of music, she began to regain some- 
thinof of her former self. Were her strains 
lofty and inspiring, her songs of gallant deeds 
and high renown, she w^as thinking of Arthur, 

VOL. III. D 



50 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

glorying in his fame. Were they soft and 
tender, and full of passionate melody, she 
was dreaming of his love. Sometimes, if the 
merry sunshine shone into the room, and she 
felt its warmth, and to a certain degree its 
light and radiance on her eyelids, something 
like a sensation of gladness would for a mo- 
ment glance across her — short gleams of the 
sunshine of the soul ; then she would warble 
a joyous air, and Helen would know that it 
was well with her that day. But, alas ! far 
more frequent were the occasions when her 
strains would assume the gloomy character of 
the thoughts that preyed upon her; and in 
words of touching sadness would she lament 
her irreparable misfortune. Sometimes, in the 
midst of her own melody, she would break off 
suddenly, overcome by the poetry she herself 
composed, and she would weep till she was 
weary, and could weep no more. But, even 
after these bursts of excited feeling, nothing 
soothed her ao^ain like her own wild music. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 51 

Through its medium she could hold converse 
with him, tell him all her love. She could 
speak to him as from the grave ; for was she 
not dead to him ? 

It was on one of her days of more than 
usual melancholy, that Mrs. Howard found 
her seated by her harp, on which she had 
been playing for hours, her head resting on 
her hand, whilst her tears fell unchecked. 

" Why do you weep, dear child ?" inquired 
she, kindly. " Are you weary of your beau- 
tiful music ?" 

But Evelyn only shook her head, and made 
no answer, and the tears from those sightless 
eyes fell still. 

" If you knew the pain you occasion Helen 
when you weep, you would never do so, I am 
sure," observed Mrs. Howard, calmly. " You 
are destroying her !" 

" Destroying her !" 

" Ay, indeed, I think so. You cannot see 
her, my love, as I do — would that you could ! 

D 2 






52 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

She is sadlj changed within the last few 
weeks." 

Evelyn's eyes were fixed, and her face 
slightly flushed; she was listening intently. 
Her tears had ceased. 

" Do you imagine that Helen is happy?" 
inquired Mrs. Howard, gently. 

" Is she not so ?" 

" How can she be, loving you as she does, 
yet seeing you what you are ? But she has 
other and deeper causes of sorrow, which, to 
spare you pain, she has concealed from you !" 

*' Ha !...is her husband altered? Has he 
ceased to love her?" 

" Her husband ! — it is long since she has 
seen him — it will be longer yet before she 
sees him again!..." 

" Where is he?" 

*' She may go to him, but he shall not 
return to her." 

" Dead !" 
"Even so " 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 53 

There was a pause. Evelyn was too much 
overcome to speak for some moments; she 
sat there like one stunned. Such news was 
so astonishing — so wholly unexpected ! — she 
could scarcely realize it. 

" Helen a widow !" murmured she, at 
length, in broken sentences, as though speak- 
ing to herself. " Helen so afflicted. ..Yet she 
could think of me — pity ray sorrows — bear 
with my complaints " 

" Yes ; she has indeed done so. And will 
not you do something, too, for her? Listen, 
my love; you are indeed heavily afflicted 
yourself; but you know not half her sor- 
rows...." 

" She is not blind." 

" No ; but she has lost her husband — and 
— Evelyn — her child .'" 

" Her child ! — her child, too ! Impossible — 
it cannot be true — it is too horrible . . . How 
—how?..." 

" It is too true — her child is dead." 



54, EVELYN HARCOURT. 

" Yet I remember seeing it... .No," (she 
corrected herself) — " I never saw it ; but 
surely I heard its voice one day — it was 
brought to me. I am sure I remember...." 

" It was ; but since that time she has lost 
it. She was absent from it, too — it died at 
Oriel." 

" Whilst she w^as with me — she staid to be 
with me.. ..Oh, Helen! can these horrors be 
true? But I remember she went to Oriel. 
Was it ill then?" 

" It had ceased to suffer — to exist. She 
went to lay it in its little grave." 

Evelyn covered her face with her hands, 
and burst into a passion of tears. Oh, how 
Mrs. Howard rejoiced to see those tears ! 

" Why did you not tell me this before?" 
she said, at length, in a reproachful voice ; 
" I might at least have sympathized "with her, 
as she has done with me — have wept with 
her.,.." 

" She cannot weep. Oh, that she could ! 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 55 

She has never shed one tear since first she 
heard of her infant's death. And all her 
endeavour — her earnest wish — has been to 
hide these things from you, lest, knowing 
them, you might grieve still more for her." 

" Oh, Helen, Helen ! How can I ever 
reward her?" 

** You can reward her. Strive to control 
your own feelings; let her believe, at least, 
that she has succeeded in comforting you — 
let her see you resigned — submissive to the 
will of Providence — as far as possible, cheer- 
ful. Let her sometimes see your own old 
smile ! This you can do..." 

" I will — oh, I will ! She shall never see 
me shed one tear again ! Dear, dear Helen ! 
Oh, how wicked, how selfish I have been — how 
thoughtless of her — and she so bereaved !..." 

Evelyn wept passionately again. She felt 
as if she had been guilty of horrible cruelty 
towards Helen, in her utter unconsciousness 
of such dreadful trials — her own actually 



56 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

appeared light compared with them. Raising 
her sightless orbs to heaven, she earnestly 
prayed that she might in future be enabled 
to devote herself to Helen's comfort, as Helen 
had devoted herself to hers. At that instant, 
the object of her supplication entered the 
room, utterly unconscious of what had just 
taken place. Evelyn heard her light step 
approaching, and, seizing her hand, pressed it 
eagerly to her lips. 

'' You shall see them again," said she, in a 
soft, low whisper, whilst a smile of ineffable 
sweetness played over her features. " They 
are not gone for ever. You shall see them 
again — not here, but above !" and with a 
gesture of indescribable hope and eagerness, 
she pointed upwards ; whilst Helen gazed first 
at her, and then at Mrs. Howard in astonish- 
ment, yet half suspecting the truth. 

Before she could make any reply, however, 
Evelyn had turned to her harp, and, striking 
a few wild chords upon it, began to sing the 



EVELYN HARCOURT. o7 



following words, to an air of exquisite but 
plaintive melody :— 



Yes ! thou shalt see them — " there are many mansions 
Within one father's house" — and who can tell 

How bright the love — how pure the soul's expansions — 
Where they may dwell! 

Thou may' St not know — along life's pathway wending — 
Nought can'st thou learn of happier worlds than this ; 

In vain the spirit pines to be ascending 
To realms of bliss ! 

Here must thou pause ! and, pausing, learn to gather 
Faith from aspiring — patience from delay — 

Nor seek to pierce the veil of Heaven, but rather 
Submit, and pray. 

Go, then, and grieve no longer — be thy spirit 
Calm and unshaken in its faith and love ; 

Through Him who died for thee, thou shalt inherit 
A home above. 

Go on thy way rejoicing.— ^/i/(? is for thee — 

Go — and work out His will on earth ; and when 

Thine eyes grow dim, and solemn death is o'er thee, 
Trust to Him then ! 

Trust to Him ever ! — He hath been victorious — 
Death, thy last struggle He shall overcome — 

And then, thy soul upspringing, bright and glorious, 
Shall seek its home ! 

D 5 



5S EVELYN HARCOURT. 

Oh ! there is comfort in this world of ours — 

Joy — while one hope we cherish 'spite of sorrow — 

The hope that speaks of everlasting hours — 
A radiant morrow ! 



Nothing can describe the effect with which 
these lines hurst forth from the very soul of 
the singer — the triumphant and inspiring ex- 
pression of the last verse ! At length that 
clear voice ceased — the wild and beautiful 
melody died away. But other sounds were 
heard in their place. Helen — the desolate 
and bereaved Helen — was weeping at last, and 
weeping passionately ! 

And Mrs. Howard, taking the hand of 
Evelyn in hers, said gently, " Now see what 
your power is ! . . . . How much have you not 
done for her already !" 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 59 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

.... Long in misery 
I wasted.... 



Keates. 



Thoughts, my tormentors, arm'd with deadly stings, 
Mangled my apprehensive tenderest parts.... 

Samson Agonistes. 

. . . .the homicide and husband-killer .... 

Byron. 

One morning, on coming down to break- 
fast, Helen was startled and not a little dis- 
tressed to find that Mrs. Howard had suddenly 
quitted Wynnesland some hours before. The 
poor lady had spent the previous afternoon 
and evening alone in her own room ; but, as 
she had pleaded the excuse of a bad head-ache 
for doing so, no particular attention had been 
paid to this circumstance. It seemed, how- 



60 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

ever, from Mrs. Penrhyn's account, that the 
dark fit had been on her worse than ever, and 
she had spent the whole night in alternately 
writing and pacing about her chamber with 
rapid steps. 

Helen trembled on hearing this ; and has- 
tily tore open the note, which, together with 
a small sealed packet, Mrs. Howard had de- 
sired should be delivered to her the first thing 
in the morning. 

The note was as follows — 

'' My beloved Helen, 

" I well know your tender heart will 
grieve at first, when you find that I am gone ; 
but, this time, unlike the last, I go, hoping to 
return again shortly. An unexpected and 
most painful interview, which took place 
yesterday between me and Mr. Chisholm, 
has led me to this determination — one, as 
I believe, of solemn, though unwelcome 
duty. 



EVELYN HARCOIJRT. 61 

" Eead the accompanying packet at your 
leisure. I have long wished to treat you (who 
have been to me more than a daughter) with 
that perfect confidence which is only due to 
friendship such as yours. 

" This seems a fitting opportunity. You 
should indeed know something more of the 
miserable being you have cherished, than you 
did when you first blessed her with your sweet 
looks and words of sympathy. 

** Read then this sad but true account, and 
pity me even whilst you condemn. I pray 
that soon I may be with you again. " 

Helen opened the packet, and found that it 
contained many pages, closely written, but 
apparently, from the various shades of ink, at 
different times. 

We subjoin this singular manuscript, which 
may not be found wholly devoid of interest, 
bearing, as it does, the marks of a strange 
and somewhat perverted intellect and way- 



62 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

ward disposition, though not, certainly, of a 
depraved heart. 

STORY OF MRS. HOWARD. 
I was always a singular child. From the 
earliest time that I can remember, my mind 
was busy. I can look back to no period — and 
I look back very far — when I did not reflect, 
and reflect deeply too. From what I have 
since seen and observed in children, I am con- 
vinced that I did this to a most unusual de- 
gree. I had a powerful imagination, and a 
fearful spirit. A word', a look, a vivid de- 
scription, were sufiicient to set the former on 
fire, and to conjure up visions so like reality, 
that I trembled at the phantoms my own brain 
created. A dream would haunt me for days 
together; and I would go about, bearing 
within me imaginations of feelings and pas- 
sions, which, could any eye but have pene- 
trated to where they lay concealed, and any 
hand brought them teeming forth to light, 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 63 

would have astonished the world by their 
mighty force — their extraordinary nature. I 
had moments, too, of inspiration, of melody, 
but these were rare ; for mine was a spirit of 
melancholy rather than of hope. 

I lost my parents early, and was adopted 
into the family of my father's eldest brother. 
To this circumstance I attribute many of the 
sorrows of my after life. A mother would 
have watched me with a mother's love, would 
have detected the first symptoms of my pecu- 
liar malady — for malady it must be called — 
and perhaps might have discovered the way 
to overcome it, or at least to counteract its 
growth. But I was surrounded by beings to 
whom I was indifferent. They were not harsh 
to me — not unkind ; but they were indif- 
ferent — un sympathizing : none of them had a 
mother's heart, and I know now what that is. 

I soon became conscious that there was, as 
it were, a iveak point within me. Oh, that 
agony, that fearful horror I — how my heart 



64 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

sinks when I think of it ! How my blood 
freezes at the bare recollection ! 

Bat I will try to describe — what scarcely 
admits of description — what I almost despair 
of making you comprehend. 

There were times, then, when all the world 
became, as it were, darkened to my spirit ; 
when I felt oppressed with a weight I vainly 
attempted to shake off; when all hope seemed 
to die away within me, and nothing was left 
in all the universe but Despair. These fits 
would not unfrequently come on without pre- 
paration. Suddenly, in the midst of gaiety, 
with joy and mirth around me, my spirit would 
be darkened thus ; and I would all at once re- 
gard myself as a monster, unworthy to associate 
with my fellow-beings — unworthy to partici- 
pate in their light-hearted and innocent plea- 
sures. I eternally tormented myself about 
involuntary thoughts ; I strove to banish them, 
and could not. The more I struggled against 
them, the more they would recur. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 65 

Sometimes, in the midst of joy and sun- 
shine, when even mt/ spirit was at peace, a 
sudden fear would shoot across me that this 
happiness would be speedily marred for me 
by an evil thought. The very idea — the ago- 
nizing fear — as a matter of course, produced 
the evil ; and then, although I knew it to be 
involuntary, although I even felt in my calmer 
moments that it was the very apprehension 
which had occasioned it, still I could not shake 
off the impression that I was a monster, the 
peculiar prey of the evil one, and unfit for the 
companionship of the innocent beings with 
whom I associated ; and my spirit would im- 
mediately be wrapped in storm. 

I often wonder I did not go mad at those 
times ; for I was very young to suffer as I 
did ; but there is a strange power of endurance 
in early age — a singular re-action. Some- 
times, after these fits were over, and I had to 
a certain degree recovered from the lassitude 
they invariably occasioned, I was conscious of 



66 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

a joyousness — an elasticity — a lightness of 
heart, of which no description can give an 
adequate idea. My very spirit seemed to 
dance within me, and was glad. It rejoiced 
to be freed from its chains, though conscious 
that that freedom was but temporary. At 
these periods there was no folly, no extra- 
vagant ebullition of mirth, in which I was not 
ready to indulge ; and at these times, my 
cousins were apt to forget the concentrated 
and gloomy moods of temper, during which 
they made it an invariable practice to shun 
me ; — and the announcement — ** Bessie is in 
one of her mad fits to-day !" — was sufficient to 
bring the whole troop flocking around me, 
ready to be as full of mirth and merriment as 
I was. 

But one day, I chanced to hear a grave 
and acute philosopher, who frequented my 
uncle's house, observe that the human mind 
was not unlike the children's seesaw; — in 
proportion to its elevation at one time would 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 67 

be its depression at another ; and that pre- 
cisely in the same manner, and on the same 
principle, that little Ernest, now high in air, 
would soon be reduced to the ground — so it 
was almost invariably found, that persons 
whose spirits were sometimes extravagantly 
high, were subject to fits of corresponding de- 
jection. I overheard this as I sat watching 
my cousins seesawing in the orchard ; — and 
I pondered over it. It struck me, that if the 
principle of reaction were indeed the same in 
mind as in matter, the less I allowed myself 
to be elevated in spirits, the less I should 
necessarily be depressed. From that time, I 
resolutely controlled my gaiety, and there needs 
no stronger proof that, had there been some 
anxious, tender, and judicious mind watching 
over mine, I might have become a totally 
different being. I was not insensible to 
reason at that time, whatever I may have 
since become. 

But no one understood me — how, indeed. 



68 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

should they? — I was considered a wayward, 
capricious child, not without powers and ca- 
pabilities of a certain sort ; but who would 
never make any thing out of them, on account 
of my strange and uncertain temper. Ah, 
Helen ! had I then been blessed with such a 
friend as you, to direct and soothe me — per- 
haps — but it is in vain to speculate on what 
might have been — sufficient for us to know 
what is. Yet sometimes I detect myself 
passionately longing that another like myself 
could be thrown in my way, even now. It 
would go far to redeem my past life, if I could 
but work for such a one, as my experience 
would enable me to do. But I believe no 
other like myself ever existed ; — I stand — as I 
have ever done — alone. 

In spite of the struggles and the sufferings 
of my childhood and my youth — sufferings 
that all proceeded from within, for outwardly 
I had but little to try me — there was '' one 
green spot" to which I still look back with 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 69 

melancholy pleasure. One of ray younger 
cousins was sickly, and a cripple. The rest 
of the family thought this child both plain and 
uninteresting ; but to me she was neither. 
/ cherished her ; and I could see sweetness in 
her smile, and beauty in the small clear eyes 
which not unfrequently turned their glance 
on me. She was never afraid to approach 
me, even in my darkest moods ; — I was never 
sharp nor morose with her. I would often 
carry her in my arms, till I was worn out 
with fatigue, in order that she might reach 
some cool and pleasant spot, too far for her to 
walk herself. I used to gather flowers for 
her — to sing her songs — and hush her to 
sleep on my lap, when her poor wasted limbs 
ached, as they too often did ! That child was 
sacred in my eyes. I thought the hand of 
God was upon her ; — that He had afflicted 
her — and that it w^as not for human passions 
nor tempers to embitter the fevv pleasant 
hours she was permitted to enjoy. 



70 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

I wondered others did not see it as I did. 
Yet she was not treated unkindly ; but no one 
thought of her as I did — no one heeded her 
wants and her infirmities as I felt compelled 
to do. For her sake, I struggled with my 
weakness — sometimes I almost overcame it. 
When I loathed the very sight of nature — 
when I felt myself, as it were, an outcast from 
all peace and love — I still had a gentle word 
to bestow upon her; — I still bore with 
her fretfulness, and strove to indulge her 
caprices. When the very whisper of the 
trees was painful to my ear — when I longed 
to hide my head, that I might never again 
hear the murmur of the waterfall, nor the 
music of the birds — I could still listen with 
apparent interest to her innocent prattle, 
and let her fancy I was amused. What do I 
not owe to that poor childish cripple — then 
and since ? She first taught me the blessing 
of self-sacrifice — the heaven of devotion for 
another's sake. And 1 bless God — oh ! how 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 71 

reverently ! — for the tears that sometimes flow 
when I think that her short and painful life 
was sweetened by my means. Yes ; — many 
an hour of pleasure has she owed to me. 

But she died ! — her little existence soon 
closed — to open, as I trust, serene and pain- 
less on another. I watched by her bedside, 
day after day : — night after night I was still 
there. I felt no fatigue — I was incapable of 
feeling any. 

Her parents loved me then; though they 
thought it strange that I should thus attach 
myself to the least fair — the least promising 
of their flock ; but no one understood her as 
I did ; — no one could guess her wants, nor 
minister to them as I could. She depended 
upon me — she trusted in me to the last. 

I saw the sallow cheek waste day by day 
— the fair hair become lank and thin ; 
I saw, at length, the little eyes close, and the 
shrunken limbs grow still ; and when I per- 
ceived that the suffering spirit had departed. 



72 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

I thanked God that He had taken her to him- 
self ! I felt I loved her well enough to give 
her up. 

How I remember all those feelings, though 
so long ago ! — the memories of that hour 
rise vivid and distinct before me still. The 
hush of that small chamber — the little bed, 
with its pure, white curtains — the tenderness 
with which I gazed upon her innocent face 
for the last time, and kissed her cheek, never 
before cold nor insensible to my caresses — 
the shutters, nearly closed, through which, 
however, one ray of sunshine streamed, making 
a long, narrow line of brilliant light upon the 
otherwise dark floor, till some officious hand 
closed them entirely, and to my sad and 
superstitious fancy it seemed like an emblem 
of my own future existence, whose only che- 
rished spot of light had now disappeared for 
ever ; — the silent awe, not unmixed with ad- 
miration, with which I was regarded by my 
other cousins, when they were told how inde- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 73 

fatigably I had teuded poor little Minnie, and 
nursed her, and watched over her ; and how 
the last words that had been heard from her 
lips had been expressions of fondness and gra- 
titude to me ! 

And her little grave, under the old church- 
yard-wall, where the ivy grew ! I fancy I 
see it still !... These things may seem trivial to 
you, but to me they are not so. Happy re- 
collections with me are so few, that I may 
well cherish what I have — and that is one of 
the sweetest. Many a delicious moment, 
many a quiet hour, have I owed to the re- 
membrance of that child. Is it not some- 
thing to have ministered to one of God's little 
ones — one, too, who came forth, as it were, 
afflicted from His hand, only, perhaps, that 
she might return to him the sooner ? 

From the period of her death, my spirit 
sank lower and lower. Whilst she was there, 
I had struggled against the ever recurring 
agony, for I felt there was one who depended 

VOL. IIL E 



74 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

upon me, and I put a strong check upon my- 
self for her sake. But, when she was gone, 
there was no one for whom it was any longer 
worth while to dissemble. / was alone ! 

I could not join in the ordinary pursuits of 
girls of my age. If I began to take an interest 
in any particular occupation, I soon found my- 
self crushed to the earth by one of my fits of un- 
controllable anguish ; — and, after a few despe- 
rate attempts to struggle against the tempest 
of my emotions, I was soon forced to cast my 
employment aside ; and the recollection of the 
misery connected with it caused me ever after- 
wards to look upon it with dislike, which al- 
most amounted to loathing. I was reduced 
to live on from day to day, making an occu- 
pation of struggle and endurance. I believed 
there was no hope for me ; — I thought my- 
self doomed to misery for ever. Such was 
my early life. Oh ! how unlike the youthful 
days of others ! 

I never spoke of the fiery agonies that con- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 75 

sumed me. There are sufferings too deep 
for description ; and I knew that I could find 
comfort — consolation — nowhere. None would 
comprehend the occasion of such anguish; 
none would sympathize with what they could 
not comprehend. Even to myself, it was 
often unaccountable; except that I looked 
upon it as a peculiarity of my constitution. 
To others, it would have seemed like the 
ravings of insanity. But I looked around me 
with a species of gloomy triumph, when I re- 
flected that none were afflicted like myself. 
I stood alone in my sorrow. I bore about 
with me the consciousness of a power of en- 
durance which no pen could describe ; — I had 
attained a pre-eminence in misery. A few 
years had dealt out to me the experience of 
a lifetime, and I had become inured to storms.* 



* If the reader should be disposed to think this descrip- 
tion overstrained or unnatural, the Authoress can only say 
that a case, in every respect similar to the one here men- 
tioned, came under her own observation some years ago. 

E 2 



7b EVELYN HARCOURT. 

Time passed on ; and at length, strange to 
say, I became an object of attraction to one 
far, far my superior — one worthy, indeed, of 
a better fate. How was it that a heart so 
noble as his could stoop to attach itself to 
me ? I know not. It is a matter of wonder 
to me even now ; but so it was. There is 
never any accounting for love ; and his sprung 
up unsought — unsolicited. I believe it was 
first occasioned by pity. He fancied I was 
neglected — overlooked by my gayer cousins ; 
and that my silence and reserve were merely 
the effects of shyness. His kindliness of 
nature first led him to notice me ; and then 
compassion ripened into tenderness. 

He loved me deeply — devotedly — with a 
far more intense affection than I was worthy 
to inspire. But I was young then, and in 
appearance not devoid of attraction ; and no 
one, who gazed upon my quiet countenance 
and placid seeming, would ever have guessed 
the frightful turbulence of spirit that lay be- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 77 

neath. Yes, he loved me then — that generous 
and unsuspecting creature — and he sought to 
win me for his bride ; and for a brief space 
life and hope seemed to open for me anew. 

But soon a cloud came over my spirit — 
darker than any I had yet known ! I thought 
myself incapable of making his happiness ; I 
feared that I should fail in the attempt — that 
I should poison the whole current of his life 
by joining it with mine — I, who was marked 
out for solitary struggles. 

I took courage, and told him so. I gave 
him back his plighted faith — I spoke to him 
of those gloomy depths that existed in my 
soul, which not even I myself could fathom 
or comprehend ; which not even the power 
of love could illumine ! I entreated him to 
give me up — to leave me to myself; but he 
would not. His affection was too earnest, 
too deep, to admit of fear. He said that his 
faith was strong, and that we would endure 
all together. 



78 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

My relations were, beyond measure, asto- 
nished at his preference of me. He was rich 
— ^his alliance was a brilliant one, and it was 
inexplicable to them that their sullen, silent 
cousin should have achieved such a conquest. 
They talked so much of my extraordinary 
good fortune, of the enviable position I should 
fill, and the innumerable pleasures I should 
command, that at last they succeeded in kind- 
ling within me feelings of ambition and gra- 
tified pride, to which I had hitherto been a 
stranger. Till now, I had occupied but a very 
secondary position in society ; now, I was sud- 
denly to be raised to an honourable and enviable 
one. In short, I looked forward to my future 
life with more of satisfaction than I could 
have imagined possible. I began to hope 
that new scenes, new interests and occupa- 
tions, might produce a change in my mental 
existence, and that the worst struggles of 
my life were over ! 

I married ; and, for a time, I was in such a 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 79 

heaven of happiness, that I wondered at my- 
self for ever having known despair. Some- 
times, I almost longed to die then, in the full 
rapture of those dreamy hours — that I might 
never wake to the reverse I feared must come. 

Alas ! when it did come, it was with a force 
proportionate to the previous joy — a violence 
that crushed me to the earth ! My husband 
was terrified, appalled, at the condition in 
which he, for the first time, beheld me. I 
believe he strongly doubted whether it were 
not insanity that ha 1 overtaken me. But I 
was not insane. One peculiar feature of my 
singular malady has ever been the clearness 
of my mental vision — the power I have re- 
tained, even under the most acute agony, of 
self-observation, of noting down my own 
sufferings, and w^eighing and comparing them 
together. 

These paroxysms succeeded one another 
with terrible violence. Everything was to 
me a matter of self-accusation — everything 



80 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

became a subject of remorse. Continual 
struggles soured and embittered my temper ; 
I grew peevish and irritable, and, in grieving 
over imaginary crimes — thoughts which, if 
sinful, were at least involuntary, and produced 
by my very overwhelming fear of them — I 
fell into real errors of temper and conduct. 
My husband became miserable. He bore up 
long under the trials of temper which my 
strange peculiarity occasioned ; but his health 
and spirits at length began to sink under 
them. I knew that I had destroyed his peace, 
and a deeper despair came over me. 

At length I gave birth to a son ; — and once 
more followed a short period of hope. What 
did I not feel able to overcome, for the sake 
of that blessed child ? But the boy was taken 
from me ;^-in the midst of health and strength, 
and full of promise, he suddenly expired 
in my arms in a convulsion fit ; — and from 
that moment I lost all strength — all moral 
power whatever. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 81 

My husband mourned long and bitterly for 
the loss of his child; but at length, after 
many months, he began to attach himself to 
the son of a cousin of his own, whom he had 
in a measure adopted. Of this boy I conceived 
the most insurmountable and insane jealousy. 
I was jealous of him for the sake of my dead 
child, in whose place I imagined him to stand 
— and I was jealous of him for my own, for I 
believed that he estranged my husband's heart 
from me. Yet I carefully concealed these feel- 
ings from my husband ; and I struggled power- 
fully against them myself — and prayed — oh, 
how earnestly ! that they might depart from me. 
But they still recurred — still haunted me ; — 
and filled my very soul with bitterness. 

My life was now an alternation of fiery 
jealousy, and the most acute remorse for 
having entertained it; and an irritability of 
temper was the consequence of these struggles, 
that it would be scarcely possible to describe. 

For some time I had been aware that my 

E 5 



82 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

husband proposed making an alteration to his 
will. I am not naturally grasping nor avari- 
cious — I may say that of myself ; — but in this 
instance my jealousy and hatred of this young 
man actually rendered me so. I used my 
utmost influence with my husband to persuade 
him to leave the whole of his property to me ; 
— and I at length succeeded. He little ima- 
gined the jealousy that raged within my bosom, 
and he believed he might safely entrust the 
boy's interests to my keeping. 

When I knew that I had attained my object, 
and that the whole of my husband's large pro- 
perty was settled upon me, (in the event of 
our having no other child) without limit or 
restriction of any kind but his verbal wishes, 
I became more miserable than ever. I had 
succeeded ; — but success was almost worse 
than failure. Remorse was continually preying 
upon me for the injury I had inflicted on the 
boy ; — but I struggled against it, and the will 
remained unaltered. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 83 

One day, when I had been oppressed with a 
weight of misery even greater than usual, and 
the very air seemed agonizing to me to 
breathe, my husband entered the room where 
I was sitting alone. How well I remember 
his look — the fixed dejection of his counte- 
nance as he gazed upon me ! He was a totally 
altered being from what he had been when I 
first knew him. Long endurance had worn 
his spirit, naturally cheerful and trusting, till 
it had changed its very nature. 

He looked at me wistfully. Oh ! the me- 
lancholy of that fixed gaze — I see it even now ! 
But then I was half mad with all I had 
endured. My spirit was wrapped in storm I 
I felt that I must wreak my passion upon 
some one. 

I spoke to him fiercely — almost savagely — 
I bade him turn away his eyes from me, for I 
could not endure to be looked upon. I think 
I must have been really mad then ; — but it 
was only with anguish. Never can I forget 



84 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

his look as he replied to me — the sorrowful, 
compassionate tone of his voice as he chid me 
for my unkindness. 

" Ah, Bessie !" said he ; " your own trials 
should make you anxious at least to spare 
suffering to others where you can, instead of 
wilfully increasing it ! Have I not forborne 
with you ? Have I ever reproached you for 
what was beyond your control, however much 
it may have occasioned me suffering ? — and 
have I not enough to bear from you?" 

But I spurned him from me ! I felt a 
strange kind of relief in being unjust towards 
him — towards every one ; — in venting my 
agony in reproaches against him, in making 
him suffer ! I hardly knew what I said. Oh ! 
you cannot imagine how my spirit was racked ! 
— how dreadful — how intense was my anguish ! 

And yet he forbore. He reproached me 
indeed, but it was without bitterness ; — only 
he said sadly, that the day would come when 
I should repent what had just passed — and I 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 85 

felt in my inmost heart, as lie uttered those 
words, that they contained a prophecy. 

He left me ; and soon after I perceived him 
through a half open door leaning with his head 
upon his hands against the chimneypiece of 
his own study, in an attitude of such inde- 
scribable dejection, that a sudden revulsion of 
feeling came over me, and I thought how ut- 
terly wicked I must be to oppress a fellow- 
creature with such a weight of misery as I 
was heaping upon him. Then I inwardly re- 
solved that, cost what it might, I would keep 
my fiery agonies to myself, and suffer no im- 
patient word to escape my lips in his pre- 
sence. 

After some hours I went out. I felt as if 
the air would soothe me. There are times 
when the sights and sounds of nature will 
somewhat comfort my distracted spirit ; — 
others, when they only agitate it more. This 
day I felt capable of exertion ; and I turned 
into the fields, resolved to weary out my body 



86 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

with exf rcise, and so perhaps succeedin stilling 
the tumu't of mv troubled spirit. I soon 
heard shots fired ; and, turning in the direc- 
tion whence they proceeded, I came upon a 
party of my husband's beaters, from whom I 
learned that he was in a little wood close by 
with Mr. Dudley, the boy whom I regarded 
with such abhorrence. I resolved to begin 
putting my good resolutions into effect at 
once, and exert myself to bear them company 
for a time during their sport, hoping by this 
means to undo the effect upon my kind and 
ever indulgent husband, of my previous way- 
ward temper. I walked on, attracted by the 
sound of voices at some little distance ; — and 
soon discovered the party I was in search of. 
The head-keeper and his son were bending 
over something on the ground — probably game 
they had killed — and two or three others were 
kneeling or stooping around. But all at once 
the boy Dudley darted out of the group, and, 
uttering one long fearful cry, threw himself 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 87 

on the ground, tearing up handfuls of earth 
and roots with frantic gestures ! At the same 
instant one of the men moved a little aside to 
wipe his flushed and streaming face — and by 
that action discovered to me — my husband — 
stretched on the ground — a corpse ! . . . . 



88 EVELYN HARCOURT. 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

I am a guilty, miserable wretch ! 

I have said all 

Shelley. 

... I will endure. I alone will hear 
What I alone committed. 

Frederica Bremer. 

Je ne sais quel poison se repand dans mon coeur, 
Mais, jusqu'a mes remords, tout y devient fureur. 

Corneille. 

I am better now. I was forced to pause ; 
but the worst is over, and I can proceed. 
The worst, did I say? No; the worst is yet 
to come — my despair! 

He was at peace ; but I... suffice it to say, I 
did not go mad, though they thought me so ; but 
I envied him — oh, how I envied him that silent, 
dreamless sleep ! — for he suffered no longer. 

No one was by, when that horror of horrors 
took place. He had kept somewhat aloof 
from the keepers during most of the walk; 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 89 

yet they had somehow or other perceived that 
he was more than usually dejected. At 
length he had entered the wood, where he 
said he knew there were a vast number of 
rabbits, and he had desired the youth Dudley 
to await his return. In a few minutes, the 
party outside had heard the report of his gun, 
and then a slight rustling in the bushes, as 
though something had fallen; — and they had 
waited some time, expecting every instant to 
see him re-appear. But, as he did not do so, 
and they heard no more shots, they deter- 
mined, after a long while, to go in search of 
him. They found him lying on the ground, 
quite dead ; his gun, which had been recently 
discharged, was by his side. 

It was talked of throughout the country as 
a terrible accident — a most melancholy thing. 
He had been loading his gun carelessly — a 
hair-trigger — and it had suddenly gone off, 
and the whole contents had lodged in his 
brain. But / knew better ! A strange 



90 EVELYN HAKCOURT. 

clearness of perception came over me at that 
time — the result, perhaps, of my unspeakable 
remorse ; but the whole course of his mind 
was revealed to me as clearly as if it had been 
my own. He had been driven to phrenzy by 
the scene that had just taken place between 
us. He had pondered over it during his 
walk, till he could see no ray of hope that I 
should ever alter — nothing to look forward to, 
but long, long years of misery. Life, with such 
a companion, must be to him evermore insup- 
portable ; — I had already made it so, and my 
malady seemed decidedly to i crease rather 
than to diminish. The temptation was too 
strong ! his mind was ov ^ powered — I know 
it was ; — that mind, usually so calm and hope- 
ful — I had stung it to distraction, and mo- 
mentary insanity came over him. By his own 
rash act, he launched his soul into Eternity ! 

Helen ^ I murdered my husband I... 

I never quitte 1 him till he was laid in the 
grave ; — night and day I sat beside him, 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 91 

gazing upon those marble features — that un- 
moved form. He had died without a struo^o^le : 
his face was placid — thank God, it was placid ! 
— for never, from that time, has it quitted me ! 
I see it at this moment ; wherever I turn, it 
is before me — my murdered husband ! — 

But I remained apparently tranquil ; — I 
indulged in no violent demonstration of sor- 
row : — only, on the last night, when they 
came to tell me I must go, for I should not 
witness the last sad duties of placing him in 
his coffin, I shook them fiercely off, and 
vowed that they should not part us — never, 
at least, till the grave had received my dead ! 

And we did not part. I saw him placed in 
the earth ; I heard it rattle upon his coffin, 
without a tear, without a groan ; — and on the 
margin of that grave I swore to myself a 
solemn oath, that I would never touch a single 
shilling of his inheritance ! It was all mine — 
well did I know that ! but for worlds I would 
not so much as lay a finger on it ! 



92 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

I would not see Dudley Chisholm; the 
very idea of him was torture to my soul- 
torture beyond endurance. I sent to tell 
him, that I could not bear to behold him ; 
but that the castle — the broad domains — all 
were his. I would have none of it ! 

I left the house ; I wandered forth — I 
cared not where I went, what became of me, 
so I but quitted the roof which I had dese- 
crated — the walls which enclosed his form no 
more. I walked long and far, I know not in 
what direction ; — at length, I sank down ex- 
hausted on the high road. 

I was found by the servants, who had been 
sent in search of me, and conveyed back to 
my husband's home. On the morrow, raging 
fever took possession of me, and I became 
delirious. 

I lay long at the point of death. I retain 
but an indistinct recollection of that time ; I 
only remember, that I passionately longed to 
die, but felt a weary certainty that I could 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 93 

not do SO. The peace of the grave was not 
yet for me. 

At length I rallied, and by slow degrees 
recovered my strength ; but I soon perceived 
that, in spite of my peremptory message to 
Dudley Chisholm, I was still considered and 
treated as the mistress of these broad domains, 
the successor to my husband's wealth. His 
will had so provided ; and my words had been 
treated as the mere ravings of delirium. When 
I discovered this, I at once formed my plan. 

I secreted about my person my mother's 
diamonds and other jewels which had de- 
scended to me, and which were of no incon- 
siderable value. I made a will, bequeathing 
the whole of the property my husband had 
left me to Dudley Chisholm, of Chisholm ; 
and settling two hundred a-year — the pro- 
ceeds of my own little fortune — upon a favou- 
rite maid, who had served me many years, but 
wbo had lately married, and was now living 
in London. This done, I remained quiet for 



94 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

some time, assuming a manner of the greatest 
composure, so as to induce those around me to 
believe that my mind was in a great degree 
calmed, and my grief somewhat subdued. 

It was my daily custom to walk for 
some hours in the vicinity of the castle; 
and at first I had been followed, and closely 
watched whilst doing so. But, after a time, 
my tranquil and rational deportment induced 
my attendants to imagine that I might be 
safely trusted ; and I was no longer invariably 
accompanied, nor even so strictly observed. 

One blustering, stormy day, I dressed my- 
self in some shabby clothes I had procured, 
on pretence of giving them away to a beggar, 
and slipped out unperceived at the hour of 
my usual walk. As soon as I was out of 
sight of the castle, I ran towards the sea, 
which was within a short distance of it, and 
threw my own bonnet and shaw] into the 
waves, which were breaking with tremendous 
violence upon the shore. I had left, in a con- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 95 

spicuous place in my private room, a letter I 
had written to Dudley Chisholm, in which I 
declared to him that, since ray dreadful mis- 
fortune, I had become weary of my life, and 
was resolved to put an end to it, and directed 
that if my body should be washed on shore, 
it should be buried beside that of my hus- 
band. Then I pursued my way for miles 
along the beach, ke ping under the shadow of 
the cliffs, which, on that iron-bound coast, are 
of immense height, and hiding myself at last 
in a cave at a great distance. It was so small 
that I could only enter it by crawling on my 
hands and knees ; yet there I spent a night 
and nearly the whole of the next day, and 
during that time I ate nothing but dry bread, 
which I had brought with me. I was soon 
drenched to the skin with the spray of the 
waves, which, at high-water, broke almost 
close to my cave ; but I heeded them not. I 
was indifferent to everything, except the 
chance of discovery. 



96 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

At length, towards evening, I ventured to 
leave my hiding-place ; and, in the midst of a 
pelting rain, I reached the town of M — , 
where, in a miserable outhouse, I passed that 
night and the greater part of the next day — 
cold, hungry, wet, but still undisturbed. In 
the dusk of the evening, I stole out, and con- 
trived to purchase myself some food, after par- 
taking greedily of which, I resumed my jour- 
ney, and was fortunate enough to obtain a 
lift in a heavy waggon, which was proceeding 
towards B — . Once there, I felt pretty secure 
against discovery. I bought some clothes 
even shabbier than those I had on, disguised 
myself in such a manner as to be no longer 
recognizable, even to those who knew me 
best, and took a place on the outside of the 
first coach to London, where, on my arrival, 
I went without delay to the house of the 
maid I have mentioned, a kind-hearted, ex- 
cellent creature, who was sincerely attached 
to me. I had but little difficulty in inducing 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 97 

her to enter into my views, and lend me her 
assistance. I have already mentioned that I 
had bequeathed my own two hundred a year 
to this woman in the will I had written. I 
settled with her that she should receive this 
money as for herself, and transmit a hundred 
and forty pounds of it yearly to my future 
place of abode, wherever that might be, 
keeping the remainder, sixty pounds, for her- 
self. She w^as faithful, and would have been 
so, I firmly believe, under any circumstances ; 
but it was also her interest to keep my secret. 
Had she betrayed me, she would at once have 
forfeited the annual income she derived from 
me ; and sixty pounds a year was to her a 
sum well worth preserving. She knew enough 
of me, too, and of my peculiar disposition, to 
feel sure that nothing would ever induce me 
to touch a single shilling of my husband's 
inheritance. 

I remained for a considerable time con- 
cealed in her house — a small tenement in an 

VOL. III. F 



98 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

obscure part of the city. I never stirred out 
during the day; but sometimes at night I 
would walk abroad, and hurry through the 
streets for the mere purpose of inducing 
fatigue of body. How I remember that 
dreadful time ! — perhaps the most utterly 
miserable of my whole life. I had leisure for 
uninterrupted reflection — leisure to go over 
and over again in my own mind the horrible 
catastrophe that had blasted my life, and made 
me a murderer. 

Sometimes, for weeks together, I did not 
leave my poor, tiny garret. I could not bear 
the sight of a human countenance, except 
indeed that of my former attendant. She 
knew me — she felt for me, and bore with my 
infirmity ; for she had seen me grow up under 
it, and she was but too well aware that it had 
grown with my growth, and strengthened with 
my strength. It was only somewhat worse now 
than it had been in my youthful days. Almost 
every other creature would have thought me 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 9\) 

mad ; I believe, her husband did so, though he 
saw me but rarely — but she knew better. 

Mj supposed suicide formed the nine days' 
wonder of society. The papers teemed with 
it ; and I felt a strange kind of exultation in 
reading the minute accounts (some strictly 
true — some absurdly exaggerated) of my own 
conduct since the death of my husband, my 
ravings during my illness, and the marvellous 
and almost incredible ingenuity with which I 
was said to have effected my escape and self- 
destruction. None but a maniac, it w^as re- 
peatedly asserted, could have possibly shown 
such cunning. If my servants were to be 
believed, indeed, I had been watched far 
more narrowly than even I myself had been 
aware of. But, in real truth, luck, more 
than my own cunning, had favoured my escape. 
And, oh ! even in the midst of my wretched- 
ness, how thankful I was to have effected 
that escape ! I was at \esistfree ! — free from 
the odious importunities, the prying atten- 

F 2 



100 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

tions, of hired attendants, who cared not for 
me; and, above all, free from the inheritance 
which I loathed from my very inmost soul. 

And so I lived on — if life it could be called, 
which was but one mighty effort of endurance. 
The image of my husband was ever before me 
— pursuing me wherever I went. I saw him 
in the calm and silent night — in the white 
moonbeams, as they shone on my narrow 
floor, I saw him — and in the fierce rays of the 
noon-day sun. My chamber was never free 
from him. If I gazed upon its sordid walls, 
his face was there, pale and shadowy, as in 
former days, with the melancholy and reproach- 
ful expression it had worn during our last 
fatal interview; if I closed my weary eyes, 
his image was still beneath their lids, clearer, 
more distinct, than ever ; if I walked abroad, 
from every shop-window he seemed to peer 
out upon me with his fixed and tearless eyes. 
His spectre was ever before me ; and he was 
indeed avenged ! 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 101 

One day, my mind was racked with a sense 
of desperation greater than usual. I was not, 
as sometimes, rendered weak and powerless 
by suffering ; on this occasion I was feverish 
and restless. I felt that I must move. It 
mattered not where I went, but I could not 
remain inactive. 

Contrary to my usual practice, I sallied 
forth in the broad blaze of noon. I had not 
been out at that hour for months, and the 
light, the bustle, the movement around me 
filled me with a strange kind of wonder and 
bewilderment. I hurried on, as though bent 
upon business of life and death ; I felt relief 
in this strong exertion — the rapidity of motion. 

At length, after walking for some hours, I 
found myself in the Square where my uncle 
and cousins used to live ; and a feeling, partly 
of curiosity, induced me to approach their 
house. There it was, just as it formerly 
looked, when I was one of its inmates. I 
gazed up at the windows of tlie room I used 



102 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

to occupy, and thought of the many hours of 
mental struggle and anguish that room had 
witnessed. Then, memory, swift as lightning, 
recalled the whole period of my childhood — 
my youthful years, my marriage, and the love 
of that true heart which, through my means, 
had ceased to beat ; and a sense of fiery agony 
came over me, greater perhaps than any I had 
ever known before. I thought I could not 
continue to endure it and exist. I have felt 
this sometimes, both before and since, but 
never as I did at that moment. I grew faint, 
unable to support myself; I felt that in an- 
other moment I must sink to the earth ; and, 
being conscious of this, even at that moment 
of horror, I remembered the danger of being 
recoofnised. It was true, I was in a ofreat 
measure disguised, and my dress was shabby 
in the extreme; but who could tell? My 
cousins might come out, might notice me, and 
the bare fact of my being at their threshold 
thus mifi'ht attract attention. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 103 

I often smile to myself to think that people 
should ever have believed me mad. The in- 
sane do not reason upon and minutely observe 
every symptom of their own insanity, as I 
have always observed those of my mental 
malady; they are commonly unconscious of 
it. They may be rational in all respects but 
one, even so as to defy ordinary detection ; 
but, touch them upon that one tender point, 
the one hallucination to which they are sub- 
ject, and they betray themselves at once. 
They are mad upon that point, and they knoio 
not that they are so. But one of the most 
remarkable features of my mental infirmity 
has been the singular acuteness of perception 
that has accompanied it throughout — the 
power my mind has retained of attending to 
and reasoning upon its own sensations — of 
comparing the sufferings of one period with 
those of another, and deliberately reflecting 
how it would be best to act for ray own ease 
under every different circumstance. I have 



104 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

always been conscious of my own weakness ; 
I have always observed its singular variations, 
as I should observe them in another. Like the 
patient who, from some disease of the brain, 
was liable to continued optical delusions, yet 
was not only conscious that they were such, 
but with a strange and fearless philosophy 
carefully observed and minutely described the 
phantoms her own brain created, so I looked 
upon myself as a species of phenomenon, and 
upon my state of mind as a malady peculiar 
only to myself. 

On this occasion, aware as I was of the 
danger of detection, I struggled against the 
bodily weakness that was coming over me ; I 
clung to the railings for support, and con- 
trived, not without the greatest difficulty, to 
reach the next house, (the door of which was 
adjoining my uncle's) where I sunk down on 
the steps just in time to prevent falling. At 
first, my sensations led me to hope that I 
should die there ; but no — it was but a mo- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 105 

meiitary faintness, produced by over-exertion 
and long fasting, and it soon passed away. 

I remained there some time ; at length, as 
I sat with my eyes fixed on vacancy, a car- 
riage suddenly dashed up to my uncle's door, 
the sight of which at once recalled my wan- 
dering thoughts, for it contained my aunt and 
two of her daughters. I remained rooted to 
the spot — I felt it was in vain to attempt to 
move. There I sat, attentively observing 
them as they each got out, and slowly as- 
cended the steps to the door. All three 
looked at me ; but Erica, the eldest of my 
cousins, more attentively than the others. 
She even made a kind of pause for a moment, 
and my heart leaped to my mouth as I thought 
she was actually about to address me. She 
did not do so, however ; but she turned sharp 
round just as she was reaching the first step, 
and surveyed me again with an attentive eye ; 
whilst I could see by the motion of her lips 
that she said to her sister, ^' Julia, Julia, look ! 

F 5 



106 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

how very like that woman is to poor Bessie !" 
I thought I saw the other turn back to look ; 
but I waited for no more — I started up, and 
burried away as fast as my trembling limbs 
could carry me. I reached my home in safety, 
and for some time went no more abroad during 
the day. But an irresistible desire now came 
over me to quit London, where I fancied I 
might be discovered at any time. In the 
country I could ramble about without risk or 
fear of detection ; and, after so long a period 
of close confinement, I pined for fresh air and 
greater freedom. I went to an obscure village 
in Derbyshire, in the neighbourhood of which 
I had once spent some months on a visit to a 
friend, and there I lived two years. At the 
end of that period, my maid's husband died, 
and, she being in considerable difficulties, I 
went up to London to endeavour to assist her, 
which by disposing of some of my jewels I 
was enabled to do. She soon set up a small 
shop ; and, by boarding with her, I was able 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 107 

to allow her a larger share of my small in- 
come than was hers by our agreement : but 
she well deserved it at my hands. I remained 
with her till she was again fairly prosperous, 
and then I once more set off in quest of a 
country home. Chance directed me to Wynnes- 
land ; and, having succeeded in obtaining a 
shelter under the Penrhyns' roof, I resolved, if 
possible, to pass the remainder of my life in 
that tranquil spot. 

It was there, sweet Helen, that I first knew 
you ; and now that you have become ac- 
quainted with my previous life, you w ill better 
comprehend how my soul melted at your un- 
expected kindness — how I worshipped you 
for the generous and tender compassion you 
showed to one you did not even know. I was 
not conscious, however, how much I had learnt 
to love you, till your absence suddenly en- 
lightened me as to the degree of influence you 
had even thus early acquired over me. 

It was then that the accidental sight of my 



108 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

handwriting (so very peculiar a one), be- 
trayed unintentionally by you, aroused the 
suspicions of Dudley Chisholm. It ended, as 
you well know, in his seeking me here. He 
watched me, I believe, from some place of 
concealment, till he had satisfied himself of 
my identity; and then, suddenly — without 
preparation — presented himself before me. 

The sight of him (for in spite of the lapse 
of years I recognised him immediately) af- 
fected me so violently, that he must indeed 
have thought me mad at that time ; for how 
could he possibly account for, or comprehend, 
the cause of such emotions as he witnessed ? 
I yielded to the most unreasonable and cul- 
pable violence — I vilified, I abused him — I 
told him he had ever been my abhorrence, 
my detestation, and that the sight of him was 
utterly intolerable to me now; that it had 
been, in a great measure, to rid myself of 
him, that I had adopted the course I had 
taken; and that I could not ao-ain behold 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 109 

without horror the person who, m one sense, 
had been the occasion of my husband's death. 
He listened with astonishment, not unmixed 
with terror. All that I uttered must have 
been to him not only incomprehensible, but 
absolutely shocking ; and he attributed to the 
ravings of insanity what was, in fact, only 
the outpouring of my intolerable anguish. 
He answered me calmly, as he had ever done 
in former days, and that calmness I had 
always abhorred. He endeavoured to reason 
with me, to point out the folly, the unreason- 
ableness of my delusions, as he called them. 
He told me that he had never at any time 
felt perfectly certain of my having actually 
destroyed myself, as was believed; — various 
things had, in his opinion, combined to make 
it exceedingly doubtful. The circumstance 
of my body never having been found, the 
total disappearance of my jewels, which never 
could be accounted for, nor traced to any of 
my attendants, who were, indeed, all persons 



1 1 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

of integrity — and, above all, my strange mes- 
sages to him respecting bis uncle's property, 
and my notorious singularity — all these had 
tended to raise a doubt in his mind as to my 
actual fate ; and though, after so many years 
had elapsed, and his utmost endeavours had 
failed in obtaining the slightest trace of me, 
this doubt had in a great measure subsided, 
yet it had never wholly ceased ; nor had he 
been able to overcome the feeling of uneasi- 
ness of which he had been always conscious, 
at finding himself in the possession of wealth 
to which he was, perhaps, not entitled. 

He now implored me, by the memory of my 
husband, to resume at once my proper position 
in society, as his widow, and the possessor of 
his large domains ; assuring me that his cousin 
had repeatedly told him it was not his inten- 
tion to leave any thing whatever to him ; but 
that I, who would inherit all he had, had pro- 
mised to stand in his place, and to assist him 
in whatever profession he might choose to 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 1 1 1 

adopt. He pleaded long and earnestly, as- 
suring me that possessions to which he now 
knew himself not entitled would in future be 
to him only a burden ; and that, if I persisted 
in my rejection of them, he should, at least, 
proclaim my existence to the world, and the 
part I had acted throughout. 

This threat had only the effect of still fur- 
ther inflaming my passion. I became infu- 
riated — I swore again in his presence the 
same tremendous oath I had once before 
taken, that I would never touch one farthing 
of this accursed inheritance ; I accompanied 
the oath with words on which I dare not 
think. Alas, how gladly would I recal them 
now!. ...But I was fearfully excited — I had 
lost all control over myself. The sight of 
him had opened the old wounds afresh, and 
my blood curdled at the very sound of his 
voice. 

Once more I escaped. With strange suc- 
cess I contrived to elude pursuit, and no one 



112 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

knew whither I was gone, not even these 
simple and hospitable Penrhjns. But after 
manv months I wrote to Mrs. James, for I 
could not exist longer without tidings of you. 
Kind-hearted beings, how they rejoiced to 
hear of my safety ! They always believed I 
had destroyed myself. 

For many weary months I once more lived 
in a small garret over my maid's shop, in the 
town of M — , where she had removed from 
London, passing as a sister of hers, never 
stirring out except at nightfall — seeing no 
one, constantly battling with my strange 
enemy. It has often happened that for weeks 
together I have seen no human face excepting 
those of my attendant and her daughter. It 
was not till after you had sailed for America 
that I heard of your marriage, sweet Helen, 
and then soon followed its melancholy termi- 
nation. When I learnt that sad event, I felt 
that there was some similitude in our fates — 
each had, by the inscrutable decree of Pro- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 1 1 3 

vidence, been separated from the being she 
loved best on earth. But there the similarity 
ended. No contrast could be greater than 
you, with your gentle, peaceful heart, your 
submission to God's will, and your hopeful 
and aspiring disposition ; and I, with my 
seared and blighted spirit, my remorseful con- 
science, and my continual struggles. Yet it 
was an infinite distress to me that I could do 
nothing for you. Once I thought of going 
over to America — of joining you there ; but 
I soon relinquished the idea. It was sup- 
posed that you would soon return to England, 
and indeed I had scarcely means at that time 
to meet so heavy an expense without serious 
inconvenience to my faithful attendant ; who 
declared, moreover, that if I went, she would 
leave her shop to the care of a relation, and 
accompany me herself, for that she could not 
suffer me to cross the sea alone. 

Then followed the news of your arrival, of 
the melancholy illness of poor Evelyn, which 



114 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

I now learnt, confusedly, for the first time, 
and of jour taking up your abode with her at 
Dr. A — 's asylum. It was then that I re- 
solved to seek you, to entreat you to receive 
me in the humblest capacity — I cared not 
what — so I might but be near you, and have 
my eyes gladdened and my heart soothed by 
the sight of your sweet face. I removed to 
the neighbourhood of the asylum — I heard 
daily accounts of you — I often saw your 
child, and the poor old man who lost his life 
for its sake. It was touching to see him with 
that infant — he loved it so fondly ! 

At last, you removed to Plashett's cottage, 
and for many days I lingered near you — see- 
ing you sometimes, thinking of you ever; 
and the preoccupation and excitement of that 
time did me good. I was almost happy 
then ; and I actually prolonged the period 
of waiting, fearful of any change. At length, 
however, I summoned courage — I sought you, 
and found you, Helen, as I had ever done. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 115 

sympathizing, kind, and forbearing. My life 
bas changed since then ! I have suffered, in- 
deed ; I never can cease to suffer whilst life 
remains — that one fearful remorse — that 
undying recollection, must haunt me still. 
But witb you I have learnt to hope, to look 
beyond this world ; to fix my thoughts upon 
another ! Ah ! Helen, what do I not owe to 
you? 

But this period of peace was not to con- 
tinue undisturbed. As you know, I was once 
more discovered, and Dudley Chisholm came 
again. When I first beheld him, I was 
scarcely less agitated than on the previous 
occasion. It seemed as if repose were to be 
for ever denied me ; I had found something 
like peace at last — a release, at least, from fiery 
anguish ; — and now that eternal horror — that 
dark, dark spot in my existence, pursued me 
still. I could never escape from it ! 

I forbore from violence, however. I prayed 
for strength, and it was granted me ; and 



116 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

soon other feelings came over me, even in his 
presence. Your influence acted then ! I felt 
how wicked it was to harbour feelinsfs of re- 
sentment towards any mortal breathing ; much 
more towards one who had never even injured 
me, but, on the contrary, had acted an honour- 
able and upright part ; and in his very persecu- 
tion of myself had behaved nobly. I listened 
to him with apparent patience, and, to his 
astonishment, I answered calmly. I con- 
fessed to him the whole ; — I laid bare my heart 
before him. I told him how (though not 
openly branded as a murderer) I was one, in 
fact — the guilty occasion of my husband's 
death. I told him, too, of my bitter remorse, 
my unequalled sufferings for so many years ; 
and I conjured him, now that I had found 
something like peace at last, not to drive me 
again to despair and solitude. I declared that 
no earthly power should ever induce me to 
change my resolution with regard to a pro- 
perty I had so unjustly obtained; — and, at 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 117 

last, I convinced him, not only that I was in 
real and solemn earnest, but, moreover, that 
I was not mad, as he had always feared. 
Then he endeavoured, once more, to shake my 
resolution. He treated the idea of my hus- 
band's self-destruction as an utter delusion 
of my own over-wrought brain — the conse- 
quence, probably, of remorse and bitter grief; 
he entreated me to consider Jiis feelings — the 
impossibility of his ever enjoying a property 
which was not legally his, to which he felt 
himself in no way entitled ; he implored me 
to yield to his entreaties. But I was not to 
be shaken ; and, finding all his arguments 
utterly useless, he left me, at length. Then I 
began to reflect. 

Oh, what misery, what struggles did I not 
endure during the solitary hours that fol- 
lowed ! But I was at length enabled not 
only to see what was right, but to determine 
to do it. It was in my power, by formally 
declarinp^ mv existence to the world, and 



118 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

making over the whole of my husband's pro- 
perty to Dudley Chisholm as a free gift of 
my own, to set his mind at rest for the future 
as to the justice of his tenure of it. I could 
make it legally his, and put it out of my own 
power altogether. I could also, by accepting 
a legacy, which I had always expected, and 
which had been left me some time ago by an 
old maiden aunt of my mother's, but which, 
in failure of me, had gone to Dudley Chisholm, 
satisfy his mind respecting myself, and over- 
rule one of his chief scruples, which was, that 
whilst he was in the possession of wealth to 
which I was properly entitled, I was enduring 
all the privations of actual poverty myself. 

I trust I am right in the decision I have 
made ; and that you, my Helen, my truest 
friend, will not disapprove it. It has not 
been made without a struggle so painful 
as to recall perhaps the worst agony 
of former years. And there is still much 
before me that is inexpressibly repugnant to 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 1 1 9 

my feelings ; but I trust I shall have courage 
to go through with it. Pray for me, my 
Helen ; and, oh ! above all, pray that I may 
soon be enabled to return to this, my only 
spot of rest in the wide world ! — 

A few days afterAvards, a newspaper was 
enclosed to Helen, in which she found the 
following paragraph : — 

" Extraordinary circumstance in high 
LIFE. — The greatest excitement has been pro- 
duced in the higher circles, by the sudden 
reappearance of Lady Charles Pembury, who, 
it may be remembered, was believed to have 
drowned herself several years ago in a fit of 
despair at the sudden death of her husband 
from an accident out shooting. It appears 
that this lady has been living ever since in the 
greatest obscurity, and even poverty, from a 
mistaken scruple, it is said, respecting Lord 
Charles's property, the whole of which he be- 



ISO EVELYN HARCOURT. 

queathed to her, but which, at her supposed 
death, went to Mr. Chisholra, of Chishohn, 
who has been in the enjoyment of it ever since. 
Many rumours are, of course, afloat respect- 
ing the cause of an event so strange as to 
savour more of romance than reality ; but to 
these we do not feel called upon to give pub- 
licity. We have it, however, from undoubted 
authority, that Lady Charles intends making 
over in a legal manner the whole of the 
Pembury property, which originally came 
into the family through the great heiress. 
Miss Gartshore Chisholm, to Mr. Chisholm ; 
and that she has already given instructions to 
her lawyer to that effect. It is said she 
intends spending the rest of her life in total 
seclusion in Wales." 



EVELYN HARCOURT. Ig] 



CHAPTER XXXVL 

I slight thee not, but make thee welcome still. 

COWPEE. 

. . . All those ties, 
"^Tiich make man's happiness, and keep his heart 
Pure by their purity — are nought to him . . . 

... He again returns to the dark ways 
Of foul intrigue . . . 

Prowse. 

Spite of his faults, he is my husband still. 

Ibid. 

O what a world this is ! 

As You Like It. 

. . . Here is the gold — 
All this I give you . . . 

Ibid. 

Lord Truro had now been absent two whole 
months from his wife, and for a considerable 
time she had not even heard from him. She 
was beginning to grow very uneasy at so pro- 
longed an absence, and to feel herself in no 

VOL. III. G 



122 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

very pleasant position. Most of the English 
had left Castella Mare, and it was time that 
she should follow their example. The Duke 
had fully succeeded in his object, which had 
been to afficher his attachment to her to the 
utmost ; — it was the general theme of conver- 
sation everywhere. Yet such was the high 
estimation in which Lady Truro was held, 
that no one ventured on the smallest insinua- 
tion against her. That the Duke was despe- 
rately in love with her, was beyond a doubt ; 
but there was no proof that either her feelings 
or conduct were other than those of the purest 
friendship. She was amiable and fascinating 
to him, indeed — it was impossible to be more 
so ; but who was there to whom she was not 
amiable and fascinating ? No ; — there was 
nothing to prove that the proud English Duke 
had touched her heart, any more than the 
poor Italian Dukes, who had done their ut- 
most to touch it — and failed. 

But though the world, or rather the little 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 123 

world of Castella Mare, gave her credit for 
being still cold and impassible as ever, per- 
haps she was not quite so much so as was 
imagined. It is certain that, at this time, 
either from a sense of her somewhat forlorn 
position, which made her naturally cling to 
any one to whom she could look for advice 
and protection, or from gratitude for the 
Duke's unremitting attentions, increased rather 
than diminished since their explanation — or, 
perhaps, from an idea that, having trusted 
him with her secret, she was safe in future 
from his attacks ; — from one or all of these 
causes, there was in her heart at this period a 
softer feeling towards the Duke of Shetland 
than she had been ever conscious of towards 
any other man, except her husband. She 
had learnt to look forward to his regular 
visits as the principal, and certainly the most 
pleasurable event of her day ; and, if he did 
not arrive quite as early as usual, she was 
restless and uneasy until he appeared. It 

G 2 



124 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

had become a regular and understood thing 
between them that he was to be the person to 
undertake for her any of those trifling services 
of which ladies, without the protection of a 
father, husband, or brother, sometimes stand 
in need. If her Italian servant was dis- 
posed to be troublesome, it was the Duke who 
took him in hand — if any of her tradesmen 
were extortionate, it was the Duke's factotum 
who undertook to bring them to their senses. 
If she wanted apartments procured for her in 
Naples, it was the Duke's courier who was sent 
to look out for them : — in short, it was the 
Duke who acted for her in difficulties and 
emergencies of all kinds — and this, after all, 
seemed only natural, considering the length 
of time she had known him, and his inti- 
macy with her husband. But perhaps Lady 
Truro was in greater danger now of falling 
from her high and pre-eminent position as 
utterly inapproachable, as well as irreproach- 
able, than she had ever been before ; — and all 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 125 

the greater, because she was herself uncon- 
scious of the peril in which she stood. 

She removed to Naples ; and, as a matter 
of course, the same day that she arrived there 
saw the Duke comfortably established in the 
nearest procurable apartments to hers. The 
siege was now begun in good earnest, and 
with every prospect, it was to be feared, of 
ultimate success. 

One morning, when he went to pay his 
accustomed visit to the lady of his love, he 
found traces of extraordinary agitation on 
her usually placid countenance. On inquiring 
the cause, she handed him a letter she had 
just received, and begged him to read it. 
It was an anonymous production, warning her 
that she was not only a neglected but a grossly 
injured wife ; — for that Lord Truro, instead of 
being in Sicily, was actually at that moment 
in Rome, with his old flame, Lady Augusta 
Brinckman ; and that such was the scandal 
of their avowed intimacy, that they were 



126 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

shunned by all the respectable part of the 
society there. The writer urged Lady Truro 
to send some person, in whom she could con- 
fide, to ascertain the truth of this warning ; 
or to hasten there herself. The letter was 
signed, " A friend" — and had no postmark 
whatever. 

After attentively perusing this communica- 
tion, which was written of course in a feigned 
hand, but not ill expressed, the Duke ob- 
served quietly that he had suspected as much 
before. 

" And yet you never told me so !" ex- 
claimed Lady Truro, reproachfully. *' Is it 
possible that you knew he was deceiving me 
all this time, and yet never..." 

*' Did you not forbid me to speak of him 
or his faults at all ?" interrupted the Duke ; 
" did you not make it a condition of my con- 
tinuing to see you, that I was never to allude 
to them again ?" 

Lady Truro sighed. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 127 

" It is too true," said she mournfully. 

" Ah ! why will you throw away your love, 
your life, upon one so unworthy of you ? — 
one who cares not for you ?" 

" He is still my husband !" murmured she. 

" And can you remain insensible to the 
earnest devotion, the unchanging tenderness, 
of one, who would willingly devote his whole 
life to rendering yours more happy ? Will 
you never relax in your coldness, your indif- 
ference towards me ?" 

" Coldness ! I think I have shown you any 
thing but coldness or indifference of late. You 
cannot but know how necessary you have be- 
come to me — how ..." 

She was interrupted ; — for the Duke, enrap- 
tured at what seemed to him far more like a 
confession of love than any thing that had ever 
fallen from her lips before, had seized her 
hand, and was covering it with passionate 
kisses. 

*' This must not be ;" said she at length, 



128 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

somewhat feebly endeavouring to withdraw it 
from his grasp — " but tell me — is there any 
one you could trust to go to Rome, to ascer- 
tain the real state of things ? I cannot do so 
myself; — I have not the courage — and an 
anonymous letter, after all, perhaps should 
not be trusted to." 

*' I could go myself, of course ; — but for 
what object? It will but make you more 
miserable to find your worst fears confirmed. 
If indeed I might hope, from your finding that 
that letter spoke the truth ..." 

" What would you hope ?" 

" That my fervent devotion might be ac- 
cepted ; — that one of those smiles you have 
so often lavished upon him who valued them 
not, might be turned on me — then, indeed, I 
would use every endeavour to discover — to 
detect ..." 

" Oh, do so !" cried Lady Truro, with sudden 
energy, whilst a strange expression passed 
over her countenance ; " and if it indeed be 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 129 

true that he is renewing his intrigue with that 
most horrible woman, I will endure it no 
longer! I will be revenged, cost what it 
may ..." 

A violent fit of hysterics succeeded this 
outbreak of passion, during which the Duke 
vainly endeavoured to soothe her. Finding, 
after a time, that her state of agitation was 
such as to prevent her from being able to 
listen to him, he rung for Deschamps, and, 
informing her that Lady Truro had been sud- 
denly taken ill on receiving some bad news, 
departed with a very comfortable conviction 
in his own mind that he was on the high road 
to the fulfilment of his wishes, and that the 
cold and impassible Lady Truro must yield 
to him at last. 

In the Chiaj a he encountered Lord Scone, who, 
after the usual salutation and a few indifferent 
observations, inquired if he had heard the news. 
" No ;" replied the Duke. ^' Ministers re- 
signed — or what ? — eh ?" 

g5 



130 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

" Truro has actually run off at last with 
that abominable flirt Lady Augusta Brinck- 
man — positively gone with her to Paris ! 
Brinckman, they say, has had a fit in conse- 
quence. Ton my soul, I'm very sorry for 
poor Lady Truro !" 

" You don't say so !" 

" A fact indeed ; — no doubt of it — deuced 
hard upon her ! That fellow deserves to be 
hung !" 

The Duke was silent. Various thoughts 
were flitting through his brain, the most 
distinct and intelligible of which was, that he 
had better now be off" himself! It was one 
thing to make love to Lady Truro in the ab- 
sence of her husband ; and another to be 
saddled with Lady Truro if that husband 
should be divorced from her ; — and that she 
would be able to obtain a divorce, if she should 
attempt it, there could be no sort of doubt. 
She was very well as an amusement — an occu- 
pation — an excitement, when he had nothing 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 1 3 1 

better to interest him ; — but as a wife, he had 
no inclination whatever for her. She was 
ambitious, however ; and he believed would be 
bj no means unwilling to adorn her fair brow 
with strawberry leaves ; — it would be safer, 
therefore, to keep out of her way for the 
present. 

Durinor the short interval of his walk to his 

o 

own apartments, the Duke had determined 
what to do. He ordered his travelling-carri- 
age to be got ready as soon as possible, and 
set off in a few hours for Rome, having written 
a note to Lady Truro, informing her that he 
had resolved on executing her commission 
himself, as there was no one he knew to whom 
he could well entrust so delicate a matter. 
Not one word did he say of the news which 
was now in the mouth of every one, respecting 
Lord Truro. She would hear that soon enough, 
he was very well convinced ! 

She did hear it ; and when, in a state of 
something like distraction, she wrote to the 



132 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

Duke, entreating him to return to Naples im- 
mediately, for that now her only hope was in 
him, this refined man of the world replied, 
that although he sympathized most deeply 
with her distress, yet, considering the peculiar 
nature of his feelings towards her, it was per- 
haps better and more prudent for her sake 
that he should refrain from going to her, at 
least for a time. 

Such is the world! 

Lady Truro was now utterly crushed. In 
the midst of so much distress, she had but 
one consolation — that she had not sunk under 
the temptation to which she had been exposed. 
Perhaps that temptation had been greater 
than was generally imagined ; — perhaps, with- 
out the safeguard of religious principle to 
shield her, she might at last have succumbed 
under it — who can tell? But to have sacri- 
ficed herself — her peace of mind — her spotless 
reputation — to such a man — one so heartless 
— so inveterately selfish — that would indeed 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 133 

have been degradation — and she was thankful 
to be spared it ! 

In the mean time, proofs of sympathy and 
compassion, and offers of assistance, met her 
on all sides. A person under such circum- 
stances would be always sure of kindness from 
Englishmen ; — and the disgust felt by every 
one at the Duke's heartless abandonment of 
her at the very moment of her utmost need 
increased the general feeling of sympathy and 
desire to serve her. 

She wrote to Lord Truro, requesting to 
know his intentions for the future, and in- 
forming him that in the mean time she had 
not money enough to pay the debts that had 
been contracted at Naples and Castella Mare. 
In due time his answer arrived ; — it was such 
as might have been expected from him. He 
expressed a certain degree of regret for the 
distress he had occasioned her, and he ac- 
knowledged that he had treated her shame- 
fully ; but he assured her it was utterly 



1 34 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

impossible for him to break through his present 
connexion now. He could only hope she might 
be happier without, than she could ever have 
been with, him. " As for money, it was 
morally impossible for him to send her any at 
present ; — it w^as as much as he could do to 
get on in any manner himself. She must 
borrow of her English friends at Naples, and 
pay off what debts she could ; — the rest must 
be left to chance !" 

After such a letter, all hope was clearly over. 
Luckily, she had two hundred a year of her 
own, the interest of her own small fortune, 
which had been settled upon her at the time of 
her marriage ; and upon this she must in future 
contrive to live. She had nothing else to de- 
pend upon ; for her father, a poor but extra- 
vagant Yorkshire Squire, had considered him- 
self too much honoured by the alliance of a 
Marquis, to dream of asking that Marquis to 
settle any thing upon his daughter; — Lord 
Truro had consequently forgotten, or, at any 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 135 

rate, omitted to do so ; consequently, but for 
her own scanty pittance, she would now have 
been penniless. 

She was determined not to quit Naples till 
all her husband's debts were paid ; — but how 
were they to be paid was the question ? She 
had no near relations, except the brother who 
had succeeded to her father's estate, and who 
was a proud, narrow-minded, pig-headed man, 
A\ith a strong prejudice against all persons 
of rank, whom he imagined to entertain a pe- 
culiar contempt for country Squires, and a 
particular dislike to Lord Truro himself. He 
had never been friendly to his sister since her 
marriage, and he returned the most unqualified 
refusal to her entreaty for assistance now. 
She had no alternative, therefore, but to accept 
the aid of persons on whom she had no actual 
claim, or to remain quietly where she was, and 
endeavour, by a degree of economy amounting 
to penuriousness, to pay off the debts she owed 
by slow degrees. She chose the latter plan. 



136 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

One day, on returning from her solitary 
walk, she found a letter on her table from 
Messrs. F , the bankers at Naples, inform- 
ing her that they had received an order to 
credit to her account the sum of two hundred 
pounds; and that they would send her the 
whole or any portion of this money, whenever 
she thought proper to apply for it. " The 
person who had sent this sum was Miss Evelyn 
Harcourt." 

Did Lady Truro's heart smite her then? . . . 
We can but hope so ! 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 1 37 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 

Hail to your mountains, groves, and woodlands dear ! 
Hail to your flowery lawns and streamlets clear ! 
Observe yon verdant fields and shady bowers, 

Wberein I've passed so many happy hours 

Mrs. Remans. 

Helas ! de tant d'amour, et de tant de bienfaits 

que) moyeu de m'acquitter jamais! 

Athalie. 

Welcome hither 

As is the spring to the earth 

Winter's Tale. 

Since the event of the fire, Mrs. Harry and 
her children had taken up their abode at 
Eridge Priory, a lovely place within a mile of 
Oriel, which had formerly belonged to Mr. 
Eridge, but which he had sold some years be- 
fore. It had always hitherto been the jointure 
house of this ancient family ; but Mrs. Eridge 



138 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

had conceived so great a dislike to it, from 
the circumstance of two of her children having 
died there many years before, that her hus- 
band was at last induced to part with it for a 
considerable sum, which at that time he 
greatly needed. 

Nothing could exceed the beauty of this 
place. The house was a perfect bijou of its 
kind — a second Oriel, only much smaller. It 
was situated on a gentle eminence, with a thick 
grove of trees rising immediately behind it ; 
below was the beautiful river, whose banks 
were unrivalled for their varied loveliness — 
sometimes dotted with trees, whose branches 
the shining waters bathed — sometimes inter- 
spersed with rocks and crags, that lent a wild 
and romantic character to the scene. To the 
right was the picturesque little village of 
Bridge, with its neat white cottages, its 
smooth green, and, above all, its exquisite 
old church ; and far away in the distance 
were the blue mountains of P . 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 139 

Oh, what a peaceful and lovely spot that 
Priory was ! It possessed within itself every 
thing that could constitute enjoyment — every 
thing that the most fastidious taste could re- 
quire, in a small way : exquisite scenery — 
capital fishing — a good garden — the prettiest 
and best laid-out pleasure-grounds imaginable 
— with a stream as clear as crystal meander- 
ing through them, now trickling silently over 
the shining pebbles, as though to escape ob- 
servation, now foaming over the rocks in a 
tiny cascade ; now widening into a pool, over 
which the summer flies sported, and shaded 
by thick groves from the heat and glare of 
day. Then the house was so perfect of its 
kind — a miniature Oriel — as quaint, as old- 
fashioned, as curious; with its carved oak 
panels, its gable ends, and polished oak stair- 
case, shining like ebony. There were not 
many places of its size in England or Wales 
to be compared with Bridge Priory. 

The present proprietor, who was a relation 



140 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

of Mr. Chisholm's, had lent it to Mrs. Harry, 
on the occasion of the lire, for as long a time 
as she should think proper to occupy it ; and 
she had accordingly resided there ever since. 
She and her children had been several times 
over to Wynnesland since the arrival of Helen 
and Evelyn : and as they were shortly return- 
ing to Paris, Helen had promised that she 
and her companion would spend one day with 
them at the Priory, previous to their de- 
parture. She looked forward with no small 
dread to this visit, which, indeed, she had 
only consented to out of kindness to the girls, 
who were miserable at the idea of seeing no 
more of her; and she wondered to herself 
how they could press her so much to do what 
they could not but know must be so deeply 
painful under her circumstances. The Priory 
was so very near Oriel, that it would be almost 
impossible altogether to avoid those dear but 
melancholy ruins ; and the venerable church, 
with its ancient yews and its low, moss-grown 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 141 

walls, was actually within sight of the house. 
There the good old couple slept ; and there, 

too, was another little grave and though 

Helen felt that near that spot she would 
rather make her future honae than in any 
other place in the whole world, still, it was 
not thus she wished to see it again for the 
first time. 

A few days before that fixed for the visit, 
a letter arrived from Mrs. Harry, reminding 
her of her promise, and strongly urging the 
fulfilment of it ; whilst at the same time she 
admitted that they might possibly take their 
departure a day or two earlier than they had 
intended, in order to meet '* cette respectable 
Elisabeth et son inter essante famille^' who hap- 
pened to be staying at Dover. Of course she 
would let Helen know if this were decided on. 

Helen fervently hoped it might be; and 
up to the very morning fixed upon, she kept 
anxiously expecting a second letter to put 
them oflf. None came, however; so Evelyn 



142 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

and she, reluctantly and with heavy hearts, 
prepared for the expedition, which both felt 
to be a most painful effort. They set off in 
Mrs. Penrhyn's little pony-chair, which she, 
with her usual kindness, had placed at their 
disposal for the occasion. It is difficult to 
say which felt the most melancholy — Evelyn, 
with her sightless eyes, incapable of behold- 
ing any object, or Helen, who dreaded so 
much those she should behold. But both 
were sad ; and the first few miles were passed 
in total silence. 

At length, Owen Penrhyn, the farmer's 
eldest son, whose heart had been made glad 
by the permission to drive the ladies over to 
the Priory, stopped short, and, pulling the 
front lock of his sandy hair with that habitual 
ofrin which not even the most strenuous 
efforts of his will could restrain whenever he 
addressed them, observed submissively — 
" Please, ladies, pony have lost his shoe." 
This was awkward. They were not within 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 143 

three miles of any village; and to drive the 
precious pony without a shoe was not to be 
thought of. Owen would be sorry to venture 
his ears within reach of his mother's powerful 
hand if he ventured on such a misdemeanour. 
He jumped off his seat ; and, after a long con- 
sultation with Helen, it was at leno^th aofreed 
that they should go on at a foot's pace to the 
nearest blacksmith's, which would oblige them 
to make a circuit of some miles. 

On they proceeded, all three walking, out 
of consideration for the pony's foot, and think- 
ing the blacksmith's would never be reached. 
At last, however, it did appear in sight ; but, 
even when they had attained it, they had to 
wait three quarters of an hour, before the 
blacksmith himself could be found, thouo-h 
several persons declared they had seen him 
but a few minutes before in such and such a 
place. And when at length he did appear, 
no shoe small enough for the pony's foot was 
at first forthcoming; and there was another 



144 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

long delay on that account. In short, so 
much time was lost, that they did not reach 
the little ivy-covered lodge of the Priory till 
full six hours later than they ought to have 
done ; and the beautiful Priory itself looked 
solemn and sad in the autumnal twilight, with 
its immemorial trees almost bare of foliage, 
and the chill mists of evening beginning to 
gather on the banks of the placid river. 

The door was opened by one of Mr. Bridge's 
old tenants, whom Helen well knew. His 
appearance surprised her. 

" Surely, the family are not gone !" said she. 

** Yes, ma'am, they be; they left y ester- 
morn !" 

" How strange of Mrs. Harry not to send 
me word !" exclaimed Helen. " How like 
her !...." But both Evelyn and she were con- 
scious of a sensation of relief. 

" We must sleep here now, at any rate. I 
suppose we may do so." 

" Certainly, certainly," replied the man. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 145 

" My missis be here, and I'll tell her you're 
come. Please to walk into the oak parlour, 
ladies." 

Helen led her companion through the hall, 
with its richly carved wainscoting and ex- 
quisite chimneypiece, supported on either 
side by beautiful oak figures, as large as life, 
and passed into the wainscoted room, deno- 
minated the oak parlour. 

But, all at once, the arm on which Evelyn 
rested trembled, and she felt Helen start, 
as she uttered an exclamation of surprise. 
That room was not empty ; in it was an 
individual who rose as they entered, and 
presented to Helen's astonished eyes no less 
a person than Mrs. Howard, or, as we must ( 
in future call her. Lady Charles Pembury 
herself. 

When the first emotions of surprise and 
pleasure had, to a certain degree, subsided, 
that lady, looking at them affectionately, 
whilst the tears still stood in her eyes, ob- 

VOL. III. H 



146 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

served that she feared they must both be 
dreadfully tired. 

" You have been long on the road, my 
loves, and Evelyn, at least, must be completely 
worn out. Come now to dinner ; it is ready 
for you, and think nothing about me till you 
have eaten and rested. I will promise to 
explain to you to-morrow how it is that I 
became acquainted with your wonderful rela- 
tion, Mrs. Harry, and by what singular chance 
you find me here." 



The next morning Helen rose early, full of 
an earnest but a melancholy desire to gaze upon 
scenes she had formerly loved so well. Fre- 
deric Percy and she had spent more than one 
day in the recesses of these woods, and by the 
side of that romantic river, during the happy 
time when their love had not yet " passed 
from the eye to the lip." Well did she 
remember those days ; they were full of sweet 
and tender recollections ; but, alas ! so melan- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 14? 

choly now ! She longed to retrace each spot, 
to visit again each shady nook where they 
had rested on these occasions. 

The morning was cloudless and serene — a 
bright autumnal day; so, leaving the yet 
sleeping Evelyn, she stole forth upon the 
terrace in front of the house. But she had 
not been there many moments before she 
met Lady Charles, who eagerly embraced 
her. 

" Come with me, dearest," said she ; " I 
have so much to say to you whilst Evelyn is 
not by." 

Helen would gladly have spent some time 
alone. Her heart " knew its own bitterness," 
and with that a stranger could not inter- 
meddle. But she was not one to show cold- 
ness or want of interest towards a friend, 
and especially one but just restored to her. 
She let Lady Charles draw her arm within her 
own, and lead her towards the beautiful little 
flower-garden, still bright and gay, though 

H 2 



148 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

the season for flowers had passed. She waited, 
however, for her companion to speak first; 
she was fearful of touching former wounds 
by any indiscreet allusion. 

" Well, Helen !" said Lady Charles, at 
length, tenderly pressing the arm she held ; 
** I know you have felt for me all this while." 

** I have indeed." 

" I have had much to struggle with ; but, 
thank God ! my courage has never once de- 
serted me. The hope of benefitting others has 
kept me up, and, in particular, one person." 

" You may imagine the intense interest 
with which I read " 

But Helen was reminded that she was ven- 
turing on forbidden ground : Lady Charles 
pressed her arm. 

" Do not allude to that," whispered she, 
making an effort to retain her composure. 
" Let it be as though it had never been. I 
wished you to know all — all that concerned 
the miserable being you had served ; but now 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 149 

— forget it, as I have so often prayed to do in 
vain." 

There was a short pause; at length she 
added — 

" One thing, however, I will tell you, for 
it will give you pleasure. I am far less 
miserable than I was. Dudley Chisholm has 
indeed rewarded my evil with good ; he has 
been the means of inexpressibly lightenino^ my 
burden — of relievini; me from an untold vveiirht 
of sorrow and remorse. 

" I cannot speak much on this most painful 
subject. I cannot enter into particulars ; 
but it seems that, from the time of my last 
conversation with him, he has been occupied 
in endeavouring to collect together proofs 
that my wretched conduct was in no way in- 
strumental in bringing about that fearful 
catastrophe ; in short, that I am not, as I 
have always believed, a murderer. In this 
most benevolent, this blessed attempt, he has 
been completely successful. Many proofs he 



150 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

has, with incredible labour and ingenuity, 
brought to light, all of which tend to show 
that that overwhelming calamity was really, 
as has been always supposed, the result of 
accident, and not of anything like intention on 
the part of my husband. 

" The evidence at the inquest, which I had 
never read at the time, nor even heard the par- 
ticulars of, but of which he has now procured 
for me a correct copy — the state of the gun, 
which, it appears, was highly dangerous — and, 
above all, a long conversation which took place 
immediately before the accident between my 
husband and the clergyman of the place, 
during which the former discussed, with per- 
fect calmness and at length, the symptoms of 
my mental alienation, as he termed it, and 
asked the opinion of the latter as to the ad- 
visableness of taking me at once to London 
for medical advice ; all these, and many other 
proofs which I cannot trust myself to speak 
upon, have succeeded in convincing me that 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 151 

that horror, at least, I have not to answer 
for. / am guiltless of his blood ! And oh ! 
the blessmg of this conviction — how can 
I describe it ? Dudley has indeed repaid 
my hatred with kindness — he has rewarded 
me for the confidence I showed him ; and 
never — never can I repay him for the 
weight of obligation under which he has 
laid me ! Has he not given me back the 
peace I had thought never to enjoy again in 
this world?" 

She turned aside for a few moments, and 
wiped away a few tears which she could not 
restrain. And what joy for Helen ! She 
pressed her hand, but she could not speak. 
Her own heart was too full. 

" Enough of this," said Lady Charles a 
short time after ; " never let iis allude to this 
subject again. And now," she continued, en- 
deavouring to resume her former cheerful 
manner, " do you not wonder, Helen, how I 
came here?" 



152 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

" Indeed I do — and you promised you would 
tell me." 

" So I will, presently. But first, do you 
not think this place perfection ?" 

Helen sighed. 

" 1 always did," said she. "It was always 
my beau ideal of a home. I used to think I 
would rather spend my life here than even at 
dear old Oriel ; — I would certainly far rather 
possess it of the two. Well do I remember 
how bitterly Evelyn and I cried when we 
heard it was to be sold, though we were but 
children at that time. Colonel Long is an 
enviable individual." 

"Why so?" 

" He was the person who bought it, you 
know ; it belongs to him now." 

"Not now...." 

" Yes, now : he lent it to Mrs. Harry." 

" It is not his any longer, however." 

" My dear friend, I assure you it 
is." 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 153 

" Mj darling Helen, for once you are wrong. 
It was his — it no longer is so." 

Helen looked at her in surprise. 

" Then he has sold it within the last few 
weeks." 

" So he has." 

" And who has bought it ?" 

" That is of no consequence. The present 
proprietor of Bridge Priory now stands beside 
me." 

Helen looked round in search of this mys- 
terious individual, but, seeing no one, she 
began to fear that the mind of her friend must 
in reality be somewhat deranged. 

" Yes, Helen," resumed Lady Charles more 
gravely, " I only speak the truth, though you 
look as if you thought me out of my senses. 
This 'place now belongs to you. I told you 
that I had made up my mind to receive the 
legacy that had been bequeathed to me by 
my aunt, who was a species of miser, and 
really a little out of her mind — at least, / 

H 5 



154 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

always thought so. That legacy had become 
Dudley's, as the next heir, but of course he 
was only too delighted to abandon it to me. 
It will afford me an income of more than three 
thousand a year. I need not tell you that it 
was for youT sake I accepted this money; 
but for you, I never would have touched a 
farthing of it : for what is wealth to me ? — 
nothing ; except inasmuch as I can make it 
serviceable to you. For your sake, it is pre- 
cious. 

"As soon as my business in London was 
ended, I came down here, and, with the aid 
of Dudley's influence over his cousin, a bar- 
gain was speedily struck for this property be- 
tween him and me. The sum was no object 
to me, and the place hardly any to him. 
Twelve hundred a year is now settled upon 
you completely independently of me, and the 
lawyers are at this moment engaged upon the 
title-deeds of this estate. When those are 
completed, it will be yours for life, and, should 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 155 

you die before Evelyn, she will inherit it after 
you, so that you may at least feel satisfied 
that she will at all times possess a home of her 
own." 

But Helen was gazing at her in speechless as- 
tonishment. She could not believe it. Twelve 
hundred a year ! Bridge Priory hers ! . . . 

*' Now come and see your new possessions,'' 
said Lady Charles, gently drawing her towards 
the house. 

In the cedar drawing-room were Evelyn's 
harp and piano, and the various belongings of 
both the friends scattered about, as though 
this had been their home for some time past. 
As they entered the room, Mrs. Hart ap- 
peared, with a flushed countenance. 

" Oh, ma'am ! — my dear mistress, let me — 
let me wish you joy ! I have just heard...." 

Helen looked from one to the other in 
amazement. 

" Is this really true ? — have you done this 
for me ?" 



156 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

" She finds it hard to believe I can do any- 
thing for her, Mrs. Hart," observed Lady 
Charles, smiling and turning to the maid. 
" And no wonder ; the obligations have been 
all on my side hitherto. But now, Helen, 
you must come to your dressing-room — your 
own particular room ; perhaps that may con- 
vince you it is no dream." 

So saying, and hurrying her up the stair- 
case and along the passage to prevent her 
having time for reflection, she opened a door, 
and fairly pushed her into a small but beauti- 
fully furnished apartment, whose windows 
looked upon the river. 

There were all Helen's own particular trea- 
sures there, arranged just as they had been at 
Oriel ; even the very books, which she had ima- 
gined to have been burnt, were most of them 
on the bookshelves. The carpet was of the 
self-same pattern ; the curtains of the identi- 
cal chintz, only new ; it all looked precisely 
like the little snuggery at Oriel, where her 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 157 

youth had been spent, only less faded, more 
gay, more comfortable. 

But there was one thing she did not recog- 
nise; a large picture, concealed by folding- 
doors, over the chimneypiece. She advanced, 
and eagerly opened it. — It was a perfect like- 
ness of her husband. 

This was too much. She threw herself on 
her knees before that silent imaf!:e of the bein^^ 
who was never absent from her thoughts; and, 
whilst the tears poured down her cheeks, mur- 
mured blessings and prayers for the friend 
whose earnest affection had heaped such kind- 
ness on her. 

It was some moments before she rose from 
that position ; her heart was too full for any- 
thing but prayer. She felt almost as if she 
had beheld him once more — as if he had been 
actually there, beside her, participating in her 
emotion and her gratitude. 

She soon closed the doors of that most pre- 
cious picture — no eyes but hers should look 



158 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

upon it in future. And oh, how she should 
love that room for its sake ! . . . 

At the door she met Evelyn, with her 
sightless eyes lighted up with such joy that 
it was touching to see it ; and a little further 
on, poor old Mrs. Jones, who was curtseying, 
and smiling, and wiping hers with a corner of 
her white apron ; and Betty Morgan, who had 
lived at Oriel thirty-two years; and Anne 
Hill, who had been upper-housemaid for nine- 
teen ; and half a dozen of the oldest tenants, 
who had made bold to come and tell her how 
thankful they were to see her amongst them 
again, for it reminded them of old times. 

And whilst her eyes were still wet with the 
tears the sight of these old friends occasioned, 
she was told she must go down, and speak to 
others who were waiting outside, too timid 
and too numerous to enter ; her own school- 
children, too — for they one and all declared 
they could not go till they had obtained one 
glimpse of her. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 1 59 

Helen went down ; but when she saw the 
crowd before the door, young and old, strong 
and weak, pressing into the porch, and beheld 
many an old familiar face, older and more 
withered than when last she saw it, she was 
fairly overcome. 

" God bless you ! God bless you !" was 
all she could say ; she covered her face with 
her hands, and burst into tears. Her emo- 
tion was catching — there was not a dry eye 
amongst that crowd. 

" Ah, Miss Helen, you're not come back as 
ye went ; but ye'll find us the same." 

" Ye'll fret less among your own folks ; 
and you're close to them that is gone — 
the dear old master, and the pretty babe." 

" You look sadly — but no wonder !" 

" We hear you're come back rich — so much 
the better !" 

" Blessings on you for having bought the 
old place !" 

These and innumerable similar observations 



160 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

burst from many an untutored lip, as she 
stood there in her deep mourning dress — her 
usually pale face slightly flushed with emo- 
tion. And soon she had succeeded in mas- 
tering her feelings, and could grasp their 
eager outstretched hands, and address a 
friendly word to each ; and reply to the end- 
less inquiries on all sides respecting poor dear 
Miss Harcourt, who, from a feeling easily 
to be understood, would not be persuaded 
to come out to them herself, but had 
heard all that passed, from a side window, 
and had been almost as much agitated as 
Helen. 

And then Helen had to explain to them 
that she had not come back rich, as they sup- 
posed ; and that, although she had always 
resolved to spend the remainder of her days 
amongst them, it would have been in a far 
humbler home than this, but for the gene- 
rosity of a dear friend. Lady Charles Pembury, 
who had bought the Priory in order to bestow 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 161 

it upon her, and who wanted to make her rich 
besides. 

These words were no sooner uttered, than 
some one was heard to exclaim, " Three cheers 
for that lady — God bless her!" and then voices 
rent the air ; and young and old, men and 
women, joined together in raising many a 
hearty and enthusiastic cheer for the generous 
being who had restored their own Miss Helen, 
as they persisted in calling her, to her people 
once more ! 

What a strange morning that was — with 
its innumerable questions and explanations ; 
and confessions on Lady Charles's part of the 
various plots and contrivances with Adelaide 
and Julia Eridge, w^ho were ready to do any 
thing, take any trouble, for their own dear 
Helen. The intentional loss of the pony's 
shoe, and his consequent detention on. the 
road, in order to admit of their servants and 
belongings being removed by the short road 
to the Priory before their arrival there ; the 



162 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

delight of the Penrhjns in general, and of 
Owen in particular, whose grins had increased 
to an alarming extent at being entrusted with 
so important a secret ; the indefatigable en- 
deavours of Adelaide and Julia to arrange 
Helen's room as precisely after the model of 
her Oriel one as possible ; their delight when 
the picture of Frederic arrived, which they 
had had copied from a miniature lent them by 
their grandfather — all these formed both in- 
teresting and inexhaustible topics of conversa- 
tion. 

And never had Helen beheld anything like 
the expression of happiness upon the face of 
the Wynnesland Recluse that animated it now. 
She looked positively handsome ! 

" I am indeed happy to-day," replied Lady 
Charles, in answer to Helen's remark on the 
subject. '^ What happiness can equal that of 
giving you pleasure, my Helen — of seeing you 
appreciated, as you are here ? But you have 
not yet invited me to your new home ; though 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 168 

I warn you that I must see you fairly esta- 
blished in it, before I seek one for myself?" 

" Is not my home ever yours ?" cried Helen, 
throwing her arms around her ; " and do you 
imagine that I would live here without you ?" 



1 64 EVELYN HARCOURT. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

Thy life, thy passion, thus to pour thy soul 
Into the raptured breathings of thy lyre. 

Prowse. 

First of your kind — society divine 

Still mount my soaring soul to thoughts like yours. 

.... vfiih sense refined. 
Learning digested well — exalted faith, 
Unstudied wit . . . 

Thomson's Seasons. 

. . . the green hills 
Are clothed with early blossoms — and the bills 
Of summer birds sing welcome as we pass — 
Flowers fresh in hue, and many in their class. 
Implore the pausing step, and with their dyes 
Dance in the soft breeze in a fairy mass ; 
The sweetness of the violet's deep blue eyes. 
Kissed by the breath of heaven, seems coloured by its skies. 

Childe Harold. 

To Helen, the riches thus bestowed upon 
her were rather irksome than otherwise ; and 
many and earnest were the arguments with 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 1 60 

which she endeavoured to persuade Lady 
Charles to retain them herself. But she soon 
became convinced that there was no kindness 
in urging this, for it was seeking to deprive 
the poor creature of the only pleasure to 
which she was still alive. As long as she be- 
lieved she was benefitting Helen, she was 
comparatively happy ; and, excepting for 
that object, riches were to her utterly value- 
less. She had retained, indeed, a few hun- 
dreds a year for herself, the greater part of 
which she intended to spend upon objects of 
charity ; and she had settled a large yearly 
sum upon Evelyn, not only in order that she 
might have the comfort of feeling herself in- 
dependent, but that she, too, debarred as 
she was from so many of the enjoyments of 
life, might at least be able to command that 
of doinof orood to others. 

It was about this time that, to Evelyn's 
great surprise, a letter arrived from Lady 
Truro full of the most earnest expressions of 



166 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

gratitude for the assistance she had so nobly 
rendered in the moment of her utmost need, 
and wonder at her being able to command so 
large a sum. Lady Charles was then obliged 
to explain the mystery, and to confess that, 
having heard through Mr. Chisholm of Lady 
Truro's misfortunes and difficulties, she had 
sent her the exact sum she required to pay 
her debts at Naples, in Evelyn's name ; feel- 
ing sure that, in so doing, she was only be- 
stowing what Evelyn would bestow herself as 
soon as she had the means. She had pur- 
posely refrained, she said, from sending more, 
in order that she might not deprive her of the 
pleasure of doing what her own generosity 
might prompt. 

Evelyn no sooner heard this than she wrote, 
as well as her loss of sight would permit, a 
letter full of tenderness and sympathy ; en- 
treating her cousin to take shelter with them 
from the storms of life, and assuring her that 
kind and warm hearts would welcome her to 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 167 

the Priory, where she might find 'peace at 
last, if not happiness. A letter of credit for 
a considerable sum accompanied this epistle, 
and the strongest assurance that, whenever 
she needed assistance, it would be most gladly 
afforded by her. 

And now Evelyn began to lay down for 
herself a plan of life to which she resolved 
steadily to adhere during the melancholy years 
that might still remain to her of existence. 
She had altered singularly of late. Instead 
of the apathetic indifference that had marked 
her conduct and manner for so long a time, 
nothing was more remarkable now than her 
eager desire to do the little in her power for 
every one around her, and the atfectionate 
interest she manifested in all that concerned 
them. She was still sad, indeed ; perhaps more 
so than ever ; but there was no Ioniser ano^er 
or bitterness in her melancholy. She had 
resigned herself to her infirmity as to the will 
of Providence; and, though hope and hap- 



168 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

pin ess were over for her in this world, there 
was ever the prospect of another and a better, 
where the shadows should fall from her eyes, 
and they should open on purer skies, and a 
more glorious sun. Oh ! how she longed for 
the time of that renewed and perfect vision ! 

At times, indeed, there would come over 
her bitter recollections of the past — so bitter, 
that she could scarcely bear up against them, 
and she would weep tears of agony as intense 
as even the first had been. At times, too, 
the consciousness of her infirmity would come 
upon her with such tremendous force, that 
she would involuntarily ask herself the dread- 
ful question, whether she could bear it, whe- 
ther she could go on thus for ever ! But 
these moments of intense anguish, during 
which her spirit strove fiercely with its cala- 
mity, were comparatively rare. A word or 
two from Helen or Lady Charles — a solemn 
air played to her — a beautiful verse of scrip- 
ture, or a short prayer read, would soothe and 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 1 69 

recall her to herself at once ; and she would 
turn to them with a gentle, sad smile, and tell 
them it was over, and she was once more at 
peace. That smile, oh ! it was indescribably 
touching ! It moved her companions far 
more than did her tears; for it expressed 
such hopeless yet resigned sorrow ! 

She now no longer devoted her whole time 
to her favourite instruments. A large portion 
of every morning was given up to as many of 
the poor children as chose to come over to 
the Priory and learn such things as she could 
teach. These were not many, of course ; but 
none of those who heard her simple and 
touching exposition of the scriptures ever 
forgot it ; and it was a beautiful thing to 
see that poor blind girl surrounded by chil- 
dren of all ages, whose eyes were intently 
fixed upon the orbs that could not see, ex- 
pounding to them those words of life, which, 
day by day, inspired her own spirit with such 
peace and resignation. 

VOL. 111. I 



1 70 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

But this was not all she taught them. She 
became marvellously expert in works of all 
kinds ; and many a little girl was taught to 
knit and sew by her ; she exercised them in 
arithmetic, till they learnt to reckon in their 
heads almost as rapidly as on paper; — she 
told them stories, composing them as she 
went, to which they listened with breathless 
interest ; — and the effect she produced upon 
the intellects of these children in a short 
time was so extraordinary, that no one who 
had not witnessed could have imagined it. 
Gifted in all things, Evelyn had a singular 
and graphic power of describing the creations 
of her own vivid fancy ; and, whatever the 
subject, whether grave or gay, solemn or 
simple, she contrived to bring it down to the 
comprehension of her hearers, and to interest 
them so intensely in it as to rivet their 
attention and charm their sense. 

In a short time, the intellects that had 
never been awakened, the energies that had 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 171 

lain totally dormant till roused by the kind- 
ling touch of hers, began to be excited. Ima- 
gination — a love of the beautiful, the good, 
and true — began to spring up in little hearts 
that had hitherto known scarcely any sensa- 
tion, or, if any, only quarrelsome or selfish 
ones. Strange, the humanizing effect of one 
noble and cultivated intellect, one benevolent 
and religious spirit, upon the minds of a mass 
of human beings, however ignorant, brutalized, 
or selfish ! 

Evelyn had plenty of innocent rewards for 
the best of her little scholars, and her in- 
structions generally ended with what they 
loved better than all — music and dancing. 
She taught them to sing hymns ; and, guided 
by her voice, they soon learnt to do so with 
wonderful precision ; — she played to them 
lively airs, and little feet jumped about mer- 
rily to the sound of her music ; — she sang to 
them simple ballads, suited to their compre- 
hension, and they listened entranced ; — and 

12 



] 72 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

poetry and melody first found an echo in the 
bosoms of these simple cottage children. 

And they never forgot her ; her influence 
remained long after her instructions had 
ceased, and the beautiful blind lady became 
a kind of legend in that part of the country. 

During a certain part of the day, Helen and 
Lady Charles read aloud, and then Evelyn 
was not idle. Her active finders were em- 
ployed upon some useful work ; she made 
clothes for the poor ; and many a new-born 
infant was arrayed for the first time in clothes 
of her making, to the delight of its mother, 
who considered it as a sure proof of luck ; 
and many a hard-working labourer or old 
woman, " tormented with the rheumatiz," 
rejoiced in the warm socks or mittens she 
had knitted. 

But by far the happiest period of her day 
was that devoted to her music. Then, in- 
deed, she was once more Arthur's ; then she 
could think of him, speak to him, tell him he 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 1 73 

was not forgotten. The rest of the day was 
devoted to duty^ but this was delight. She 
would sing the most exquisite ballads, and 
words of touching sadness, as though he were 
listening beside her. She would describe to 
him her sufferings, her infirmity, with such 
affecting minuteness, and yet such beauty of 
language, that it was impossible to hear her 
without tears. Sometimes she would reproach 
him for abandoning her in her desolation, and 
entreat him passionately to return to her, if 
but for a time, that she might once more feel 
the touch of his hand, though she never might 
gaze upon his face again. But she soon re- 
pented of this wish. It was better as it was. 
He would be too deeply grieved to see her so 
afflicted ; and above, in the starry skies, she 
might look for him again. Often, too often, 
overpowered by the recollections her own 
melodies had recalled, she would break off 
suddenly, and weep long and bitterly. 

The talent she possessed was so striking 



174 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

and so rare, that it soon became much talked 
of, and people would sometimes come from a 
distance, with a request to be allowed to hear 
her sing without her knowledge, if only for a 
few moments. But it was not often that 
Helen would permit this. It seemed to her 
like intruding upon the privacy of her 
thoughts, and lifting the veil from sorrows 
and struggles which it was not for the world 
to enter into, or meddle with. Evelyn, how- 
ever, was always ready to exercise her talent 
for any one who desired it ; and for strangers, 
or even her inferiors, she would sing with as 
much willingness as for her own immediate 
friends, though her compositions on such 
occasions were not to be compared to those 
of her own solitary hours. It would be dif- 
ficult to describe the interest she excited in 
the immediate neighbourhood of the Priory ; 
and indeed every where, where her name was 
mentioned, or her story known. Her extreme 
beauty, which was, if possible, more striking 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 175 

than ever — her remarkable talents, her me^ 
lancholy history, and the infirmity which she 
bore with such touching resignation, as well 
as her benevolent and perfect life — all these 
naturally excited the intense sympathy and 
regard of all classes. By the poor she was 
looked upon as a sort of divinity — something 
too bright and beautiful almost for this world ; 
and by the rich with tenderness, respect, and 
admiration. People would come from far, in 
the mere hope of catching a glimpse of her 
as she took her daily walk ; and she w^as con- 
sidered a kind of curiosity in that country, 
better worth seeing than had been the ladies 
of Llangollen. The pretty schoolhouse that 
was building at her expense, just outside the 
Priory gates, was frequently visited by par- 
ties who never could ask questions enough 
concerning her, and who thought themselves 
fortunate indeed, if she chanced to take her 
daily walk in that direction, whilst they 
remained. 



176 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

It was not only the poor around the Priory 
who benefitted by the munificent charities of 
its inmates. Many a sufferer was relieved by 
the bounty that proceeded from thence, who 
never even knew the names of his benefactors. 
The three Recluses of Eridge made it their 
business to find out misery, in whatever shape 
or place it existed, at least as far as they 
could; and wherever money could relieve it, 
money was given. Their own wants and ex- 
penses were so simple, that they could well 
spare a large sum for such benevolent pur- 
poses. Others also were made glad by their 
newly-acquired riches. The young Percys 
were not only now better dressed, but better 
educated ; and many a timely present rejoiced 
the hearts of the Heneage children, and de- 
lighted their parents. In short, Lady Charles 
enjoyed to her heart's content the only plea- 
sure she was now capable of feeling — that of 
knowing that her wealth was the continual 
means of gratification to Helen, through 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 177 

others, whom she was, by it, enabled to 
benefit. 

The winter had now set in, and with it 
came one great pleasure for Evelyn, the 
greater because it was unexpected. Helen 
entered the room one day with a packet in 
her hand, and a smile on her countenance. 

** What do you think I have got for you, 
dear Evelyn ?" said she ; and Evelyn knew by 
the tone that it was something peculiarly 
pleasant. 

" What is it?" inquired she, raising her 
beautiful head, and by a gesture full of inde- 
scribable grace tossing back her long black 
ringlets, " what is it ?" 

" A new work, by Arthur Sherborne." 

Oh, how the soft cheek flushed, and the 
sightless eyes sparkled at those words ! 

"By Arthur?... Oh, Helen!...." 

Her lip quivered, and she trembled — always 
with her a symptom of intense emotion. 

" Where is it ? — ^have you got it there ?" 

I 5 



178 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

" I have, dearest— here it is." 

"And is he?., .is he ?...." 

She could utter no more, but it was not 
needed ; Helen could well understand her 
without words. 

'' He is not in England, dear Evelyn ; from 
what I can learn, he is still in Africa, and the 
manuscript of this work was sent over to his 
publishers some time ago." 

She did not add, that her constant and in- 
defatigable inquiries had at length elicited 
the fact, that he had been dreadfully ill ; 
and that, when the latest accounts arrived, 
they brought the news that his life was 
despaired of. 

Evelyn sighed heavily; and, folding her 
hands together, remained for some moments 
silent. Suddenly, however, she remembered 
the book, and again her speaking countenance 
lighted up with eager animation. 

" Where is it ? — where is it ?" cried she. 

Helen gave it to her. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 179 

" Three volumes — three whole Yoliiraes !" 

She took them up, and began to feel them 
one by one — their length, their breadth, their 
thickness ; then she pressed them passionately 
to her lips, and murmured, as though to her- 
self, "^ voice from him! . ..." 

'' How singular !" said Helen ; " the name 
of it is, 'A Voice from the Wilderness,'"'' 

Evelyn started, and taking the first volume 
turned to the title-page, and passed her hand 
slowly over it. Then, in the midst of the 
burning desire, the intense eagerness, to pos- 
sess herself of those thoughts, to read the 
messages of his soul to hers, to devour the 
pages, on every one of which he had stamped 
his imao-e — a consciousness of her utter ina- 

o 

bility came over her. She longed to impress 
those words upon her heart, and yet she could 
not read one of them. She dropped her head 
upon her hands, and wept. 

*' Alas, when he spoke to me from the wil- 
derness, he knew not that I was blind ! " 



180 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

Helen strove to soothe her. Too well she 
understood the feelings that made her weep 
then ; and, instead of chiding, she wept with 
her. But when her emotion had spent itself — 
when at length she had become calm, the 
gentle, patient Helen took up the book, and 
unasked, but unforbidden, began to read. 
And soon all sorrow, and nearly all recollec- 
tion of sorrow, vanished before those words 
of unutterable interest ; — Evelyn sat en- 
tranced. It was indeed a voice from his soul 
to hers — she recognized him in every page — 
in every line. He had been full of her remem- 
brance when he wrote that book. And oh ! 
what a treasure he had sent her across the sea ! 

Who can tell the tears that were shed before 
that story was ended ; — the interest, harrowing 
and intense, with which it was devoured ! — 
how, after each reading, she counted the 
pages that remained, mourning sadly over 
their rapidly diminishing numbers ! — how her 
eye kindled, and her cheek flushed at every 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 181 

beautiful passage — every sublime description 
— every noble and inspiring thought ! And 
when, with that magical charm that hovered 
around his pen, unequalled by any author of 
modern times, he spoke of Love, describing 
its exalted and divine nature with that pas- 
sionate tenderness which was so peculiarly his 
own, how her frame trembled and her lip 
quivered with irrepressible emotion ! It is 
not too much to say, that that book was well 
nigh learnt by heart : — all its most exquisite 
passages she involuntarily committed to me- 
mory, simply from hearing them repeated 
again and again. But this she had done 
before with all his other works. 

One thing occasioned her untold delight ; — 
the whole tone of this work was melancholy — 
indescribably melancholy. A vein of sadness ran 
throughout it, which was continually apparent 
to her. It was written by one who mourned the 
loss of something precious ; — for whom life had 
lost its charm— for whom the sunlight had 



1 82 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

departed. Yet it was so beautiful in its sadness, 
and there were so many passages which were 
immediately addressed to her ! she felt it — she 
knew it... Alas ! how little did she imagine that 
he, for w^hom she pined so incessantly, had long 
thought of her as of an angel in the courts 
above ; and that, if he did address himself to 
her, it was as one removed far beyond this 
dreary world, to happier scenes, where he ever 
panted to follow ! — 



Thus the winter passed away ; and soon 
the spring came dancing forth, and the river 
sparkled in the merry sunlight, and reflected 
back skies of brightest blue ; and the garden 
and the woods were fragrant with the breath 
of violets, and the shady spot beside the pool 
became a mass of verdure, and myriads of 
wild flowers of every hue were springing up 
by the wayside, and in the smiling meadows, 
sending up welcome odours to the clear 
air. And the hedo^e-rows were alive with 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 183 

merriest music, and the cuckoo's note was 
heard in the distance, and the may and the 
horse-chestnut put forth their exquisite blos- 
soms, and the old Priory looked gay once 
more, with its graceful creepers and roses that 
peeped lovingly in at its beautiful windows. 
And in the old churchyard, the tall grass was 
springing luxuriantly, and pale primroses and 
violets, and many an humbler flower besides, 
were adorning the graves of the dead ; — and 
all in that ancient, solemn place looked, as it 
should do, hopeful and serene. But one spot, 
railed round close to the church, was bloominor 
more than all, for the hand of a mother had 
been there ; and she it was who had planted 
those weeping willows, and the rose-trees, 
whose buds were now beginning to blossom, 
and her love and her undying recollection had 
hallowed that spot of rest. 

And now, day by day, she comes and 
breathes a prayer upon that grave, for the 
husband who sleeps not there, and the infant 



184 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

who rests beneath. The kind old man, too, 
is not forgotten ; — her pious hand has raised 
to him a tribute of grateful recollection. 
Within the church is a marble tablet, recording, 
in a few simple lines, the heroic act of self- 
devotion by which he lost his life. Inex- 
pressibly touching are those few lines ; speak- 
ing higher things in praise of that venerable 
man than the most elaborate epitaph ; — no 
one can pass them by unmoved ; and few 
without a tear. Indeed, that ancient church, 
but little known before, has become an object 
of singular interest of late. 

o 

But, though the glad earth smiled, and all 
things seemed to revive with the balmy airs 
and freshening showers of spring, it brought 
but little change to the inmates of the Priory. 
One, indeed, of that melancholy group seemed 
rather to be fading away in this season of 
hope, like a pale autumnal flower. Helen 
was of so quiet and reserved a disposition, 
that sorrow with her never told its tale at 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 185 

once ; but gradually, like an insidious disease 
whose growth is scarcely noticed, it wore 
away her strength, and attacked the very 
mainsprings of her life. The mighty effort 
she had made for Evelyn's sake, at the time 
of her child's death, had done for her the work 
of years. There had been no outlet to her 
agony at that period ; — no burst of passion, 
relieving itself by its own violence ; — no re- 
action afterwards. From first to last, all 
had been outwardly calm; but the anguish 
that could not then find a vent had worn 
away her heart; and now it told upon her 
outward frame. 

It was well for Evelyn that she could not 
see the pale and wasted cheek, the hollow eye, 
the stooping form of her on whom all her 
hopes now centred ; — but there was one who 
marked them with many a heartfelt pang. 
Lady Charles had long observed the change 
in Helen's looks; and again and again had 
she entreated her to seek advice, and consent 



186 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

to be treated as an invalid. But she ever re- 
plied, what was in fact the case, that she felt 
no pain, no ailment of any kind, for which she 
could consult a doctor. It was the mind, to 
which no physician could minister, which 
preyed upon her bodily frame, and gradually 
undermined its strength ; — and Lady Charles 
ever hoped that time, which brings such heal- 
ing on its wings, might end by soothing at 
least the wounds she well knew it could not 
close. Time, however, seemed to bring no 
change, except the gradual diminution yet 
more of strength, and flesh, and appetite. 
Still there was no pain — no apparent disease ; 
— life with her was wearing away gently, 
and without a struggle. 

At length, however, her weakness increased 
so much, that even Evelyn began to be sensible 
of it, and to express uneasiness and alarm. 
Then she consented to seek advice ; and the 
physician who had attended her from child- 
hood was sent for and consulted. He could 



EVELYN HAKCOURT. 187 

prescribe little, except gentle stimulants and 
change of air ; and, unwilling as she was to 
leave her home, for the sake of her friends she 
consented to do so, and they all accordingly 
removed to the nearest place on the sea-coast. 
There, however, for the first time, she became 
really ill ; and such was the agony of poor 
Evelyn, that nothing would induce her to 
leave the bedside of her friend, even for a mo- 
ment. There she sat, hour after hour, day 
after day, singing low ballads, or listening 
intently to the sound of her breathing, whilst 
she slept, in order to discover from it whether 
the fever were diminished. Not even to Lady 
Charles would she resign the precious privilege 
of that long and anxious watching. 

At length, however, Helen rallied ; and her 
first eager entreaty, on being pronounced 
better, was to be allowed to return to Bridge. 
And, when once more in that beloved spot, 
something like symptoms of returning strength 
began to show themselves. A faint tinge 



188 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

began to suffuse her usually pale cheek, and 
her eyes sparkled with a brighter lustre. 
What joy for Evelyn ! she could not see those 
changes, indeed, but she discerned them. By 
a wonderful instinct, she seemed to know 
when Helen was better. And never, till 
lately, had she felt how dear that kind com- 
panion was ; — nor till she had feared to lose 
her, had she realized to herself the fervour 
with which her soul had attached itself to 
Helen's ; — Helen, who was to her light, sun- 
shine, sight, everything ! 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 189 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

It is the hour when from the boughs 
The nightingale's high note is heard; 
It is the hour when lover's vows 
Seem sweet in every whispered word ; 
And gentle winds and waters near 
IVIake music to the lonely ear. 

And her cheek grows pale, and her heart beats quick ; 
There whispers a voice through the rustling leaves — 
A moment more, and they shall meet — 

'Tis past 

Lord Byron. 

One lovely evening, in the beginning of 
July, Evelyn was sitting in her favourite spot 
beneath the avenue of lime-trees, where her 
harp had been removed, for her hour of music 
was come ; and it w^as ever amidst the sweet 
influences and sounds of nature that she felt 
she could best attune her heart and voice to 
melody. 



190 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

She had dreamt, the night before, a strange, 
eventful dream, and she vainly strove to shake 
off the impression it had produced. She fan- 
cied she had recovered her sight, and that 
she was walking by the beautiful river at 
Eridge, alone, and gazing with sensations of 
untold delight into its glassy depths, where 
the blue sky was ever changefully reflected ; 
and she saw the willow boughs bending their 
graceful branches to the stream as it rippled 
by, and the summer flies sporting merrily 
upon its surface, and the " fitful and glad 
music " of the birds was floating on the 
air. 

Then suddenly the scene changed, and she 
found herself at Oriel, in the ancient library, 
and the venerable patriarch was reading in his 
silver-clasped Bible, and all were grouped 
around, as in the quiet evenings of her youth. 
And Helen's child was there — a little, fair- 
haired boy. But all at once the child's face 
turned pale — and then a mist swam before 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 191 

her eyes, and when she gazed again, he was 
lying on a little bed in the turret chamber, 
dead — quite dead — and a wreath of flowers 
was round his brow, but it was cold and 
wan, like marble. And Helen sat beside him, 
with her eyes fixed on his silent countenance, 
and such a look of speechless agony in hers ! — 
Evelyn could not bear it. 

Then it seemed to her as if the child had 
suddenly become an angel, and was beckon- 
ing to his mother from clouds of exquisite 
and shining beauty to follow where he was ; 
and she was rising from her sight, but Evelyn 
seized her dress, and with passionate entreaties 
clung to it, and implored her not to go — not 
to leave her to desolation — to madness ; and 
in the agony of that fear — that passionate 
struo-ole — she awoke to find it all — even her 
recovered sight — a dream ! 

This vision had haunted her even in her 
wakinof hours. It was strano^e that ever in 
her sleep she imagined she could see. But 



192 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

now the hour was so calm, the perfumed air 
so balmy, the mysterious whispering of the 
trees so soothing and delicious, that her spirit 
for the moment felt at peace, though still 
most mournful. 

" Beautiful, happy things that sport about," 
murmured she, half aloud, " I hear your voices 
in the breezy air — would I could see you ! 
But no ! I am — I must ever be — alone with 
my sorrow." 

She sat for some time, with one hand rest- 
ing on her harp, lost in abstraction. How 
singularly beautiful she was in that attitude ! 
what a subject for a picture ! The small head, 
slightly upturned — the heavy masses of black 
silken hair rolled round and round with the 
most unstudied carelessness, and yet the clas- 
sical effect of a Grecian statue — the long, 
shining ringlets, parting naturally over a brow 
not less smooth and white than Parian marble 
— the glorious, Asiatic eyes, sightless, but 
still so beautiful, with their long, pencilled 



EVELYN HARCOURT, 193 

lashes, hanging drowsily over those melan- 
choly depths — the exquisitely chiselled nose 
— the mouth, with its full, perfect lips, on 
which every varying expression of her mind 
was seen to dwell — the unconscious grace of 
her attitude — the tall and exquisitely propor- 
tioned figure — all combined to render her as 
lovely and enchanting a vision as ever blessed 
a poet's dream, or inspired an artist's pencil. 
Even the very dress she wore, simple as it 
was, added to the general effect of the pic- 
ture, as its light folds fell gracefully around 
her. 

It was certainly impossible to behold any- 
thing more lovely than Evelyn Harcourt at 
that moment. 

She had sat for some time thus, lost in 
thought; at length, striking a few rapid 
chords, she began an impassioned air, which 
gradually, however, sank to a low and mourn- 
ful measure, as the following words expressed 
her painful sense of her infirmity. 

VOL. III. K 



194 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

Flowers are bloominground ; their subtle essence 
Steals o'er my senses with a magic power : 

The Past comes back — the glorious effervescence 
Of childhood's hour. 

Flowers are blooming round : I feel them flinging 
Millions of odours to the summer sky — 

Emblems of man — for one brief space upspringing, 
Then soon — to die ! 

For me, sweet flowers, your brilliant hues are over. 
Vain are your fairy forms, though Heaven -designed, 

Ye cannot pierce the shades these eyeballs cover, 
For I am blind ! 

To me this beauteous earth is cold and dreary, 
No ray shines in upon my darkened sight ; 

To me the morn is sad, the eve is weary — 
For both are night ! 

Oh, not for me that sky serene and vaulted. 

Those dark blue depths on which I loved to gaze 

With earnest eyes, and soul to Heaven exalted. 
In other days. 

Nor yet those moonlit clouds, whose feathery gleaming 
Shines like the wings of white-robed seraphim — 

Nor the mysterious stars : to me their beaming 
Long has been dim. 

Mine is a darksome prison — oh, how lonely ! 

Never on earth can I escape its gloom : 
There is no hope for me — ^no change — save only 

That of the tomb ! 



e\t:lyn harcourt. 195 

As these last words died away in mournful 
murmurs on her lips, her hands fell powerless 
from the instrument, and large tears slowly 
coursed each other down her cheeks. 

Suddenly, a faint sigh broke upon her ear. 
She started ; but, supposing it to be Helen, 
who had stolen near her unperceived, and 
grieved that she should have surprised her in 
so melancholy a mood, she made an effort to 
recover herself, and, hastily wiping away her 
tears, exclaimed — 

" Ah, Helen ! you were wrong to steal 
upon me so. I did not know you were 
there." 

But no answer was returned ; and she 
almost fancied she could catch suppressed 
sobs. 

" Helen — dearest Helen — do not grieve for 
me. Indeed it was nothing — all folly — and 
it is over now " 

But a voice seemed to whisper — 

" Evelyn ! — my Evelyn.... !" 

K 2 



196 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

Not more rapid is the passage of light — 
not more sudden is the shock of electricity — 
than was the start that Evelyn made at those 

sounds Then her head remained raised, 

her eyeballs distended, her lips parted — she 
breathed not, she moved not ; there she was, 
a perfect picture of agonizing, intense expecta- 
tion ! 

But a moment or two had elapsed, and 
there was no repetition of those sounds — 
to her ear, at least. Then her head drooped, 
the colour died away from her cheeks, leaving 
them of an ashy paleness, and she murmured, 
in a tone of indescribable sadness — 

" Dreaming again !....How strange !" 

" No, my Evelyn, it is no dream," mur- 
mured the same low, broken voice beside her. 
" Alas ! have you forgotten me ?" 

" Forgotten !" cried Evelyn, wildly spring- 
ing to her feet, and stretching out her arms 
in the direction whence those sounds pro- 
ceeded — "who asks me that? Ah! is 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 197 

it you, Arthur? — come once more? — 
Arthur..." 

Her outstretched hands were gently seized, 
and pressed to lips which devoured them with 
frantic kisses, whilst tears — warm, gushing 
tears — fell fast upon them. 

**It is he!" she cried, in her turn seizing 
his hands ; " it is Arthur — 9Jii/ Arthur re- 
turned to me! — Oh, Helen, Helen! he has 
sought me — he has found me ; these are his 

tears — and he is weeping for me Ah ! it is 

too much.... !" 

As she uttered, or rather shrieked forth, 
these broken sentences with a rapidity of 
utterance of which no words can give but a 
faint idea, her breath came short and quick, 
the colour totally forsook her cheeks, and 
she fell back breathless and fainting in his 
arms. 

Even then she was conscious of a strange 
sensation of dreamy ecstasy. She felt, rather 
than knew, that he was supporting her — that 



198 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

lie was straining her wildly to his bosom, im- 
printing burning kisses upon her cheek, her 
brow, her lips.... 

Oh ! that she could but die thus ! 



EVELYN UARCOURT. 199 



CHAPTER XL. 

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods ; 
There is a rapture on the lonely shore. 

Childe Harold. 

Death shuns the wretch that fain the blow would meet. 

Byron. 

And midnight listens to the lion's roar, 
And long, long deserts scorch the camel's foot. 

Ibid. 

When Arthur Sherborne had quitted Eng- 
land, Evelyn's dreadful illness was just begin- 
ning. He heard of it, however, first abroad ; 
and that her life was in the greatest possible 
danger. The next tidings that reached him 
were, that she had been removed to a mad- 
house, without hope of recovery. — A short 
time after, he was told that she was dead. 

Up to that period, he had continued to 



200 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

cherish a nameless, undefined hope connected 
with her ; — but from that hour he grew reck- 
less ; — he cared not what became of him. 
She — the sweet idol he had enshrined within 
his secret soul— was rudely torn away from 
it ; — she was too beautiful for earth, and on 
earth he should see her no more. That she 
had loved him to the end, he doubted not. She 
had been true to the last ; — her coldness had 
been assumed — her rejection of him forced 
upon her. They had killed her amongst 
them ; those cruel, worldly beings with whom 
her lot had been cast — they had trampled 
upon her innocent and beautiful nature, and 
destroyed the loveliest blossom the world ever 
produced. He strove to forgive them ; but it 
was hard to do so, when he remembered her. 

Then his heart became completely seared. 
He had never loved before ; and this, his first 
deep, passionate love, had wound itself round 
every fibre of his frame— identified itself 
with every sensation of his high and contem- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 201 

plative nature. He cared not where lie went, 
nor what befel him, so he only escaped far, 
far from the land where they had destroyed 
her. He plunged into the deserts of Africa, 
and for months and months wandered about 
amongst those burning wilds, without com- 
panions, except the guides and black servants 
who accompanied him. He felt a desperate 
delight in braving danger of every kind ; — 
death would, at that time, have been far from 
unwelcome. But it seemed as if he bore 
about with him a charmed life ; nothing had 
power to harm him. In innumerable struggles 
with the wild beasts of the forest, he inva- 
riably came oiF victorious; his very indifference 
to life tending to preserve it, for it lent him 
coolness and courage in the moment of utmost 
peril. 

He still continued to write — it had become 
almost a necessity to him ; — and was he not 
writing of her f She was ever before him. 
In his tent, in the lonely evening — in the 

K 5 



202 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

calm moonlight that rested on those trackless 
forests — or in the noonday glare of the burn- 
ing desert, when everything that had the 
breath of life sought a shelter from the heat, 
and to raise a pebble from the scorching earth 
was like touching a live coal ; — everywhere, 
in every season, her sweet image was before 
him, radiant and lovely as when first she con- 
fessed her love to his enchanted ears, on the 
banks of the beautiful Como. Few men ever 
loved like this gifted and imaginative student ; 
— his passion, like his genius, rose towering and 
sublime, far above the comprehension of ordi- 
nary men. He had not frittered away his 
feelings in those passing fancies, those pas- 
sions of a moment, which wear away the 
freshness, and destroy the poetry of so many 
hearts. He had never loved before ; and 
long had he steeled himself against the capti- 
vating influence of her image — but, when 
once it had entered that ardent and untried 
heart, whose treasures of deep feeling could 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 203 

never be exhausted, it stamped itself indelibly 
there. The lonely and aspiring philosopher 
could never love again. 

It was whilst niourning thus, and making, 
as it were, a grave for her in his own soul, 
that he wrote that saddest and perhaps most 
beautiful of all his compositions, to which we 
have alluded in a recent chapter— as well as 
the two succeeding works which afterwards 
won for him an undying reputation. Not a 
page, not a line, of these compositions, but 
was inspired by the remembrance of her — con- 
nected with her image. Yet, whilst England, 
whilst Europe, were ringing with the sound of 
his name, doing homage to a genius unri- 
valled in his own times, scarcely any one, with 
the exception of his publishers, knew even 
what had become of the singular enchanter, 
who, like a former mighty magician, was able 
to charm all hearts, inspire all minds, and yet 
kept himself aloof from their admiration and 
their praise. How little could the world 



204 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

guess the secrets of that lofty nature, or ima- 
gine the wild and lonely life led by the poet, 
who spoke with such a powerful voice from 
afar ! 

After some months of solitary wandering 
in the desert, he returned to a place called 
Colesbury, to make preparations for a still 
longer expedition which he contemplated into 
the region of the wild elephants, which inhabit 
vast mountain ranges in the far, far interior, 
where few, if any, Europeans have ever pene- 
trated. He met with great opposition from 
the native chiefs, who invariably endeavour to 
prevent strangers from advancing into their 
country, being fearful of losing the monopoly 
of the trade in ivory. He was not, however, 
one to be easily deterred from the prosecu- 
tion of any object he had determined upon ; 
and now, when he was careless and indifferent 
to life, neither threats nor dangers were likely 
to arrest him. Amid hardships and difficul- 
ties which for him had a strange charm, he 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 205 

pursued his way; — achieved, with only a few 
guides and Hottentot servants, what no well- 
appointed party had ever been able to effect, 
and penetrated further into the interior than 
any white man who had preceded him. The 
perils and excitement of that wild life were 
to him strangely attractive. In the mighty 
wilderness, he was conscious of a sense of 
freedom — of repose — which he could no longer 
feel in the haunts of civilizatiou. Far, far 
from men, their passions and their crimes, 
should henceforth be his home. 

And in these vast and untrodden solitudes, 
what sights of wonder daily met his view ; — 
nature in her wildest majesty ! Sometimes 
vast undulating plains, covered, not with 
herds, but with one dense mass of antelopes, 
for leagues and leagues on every side, pouring 
on, on, in close and serried phalanx, far as the 
eye could reach ; their countless myriads con- 
cealing the earth for many hours, till all the 
living things of creation might seem to be 



206 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

congregated there ; — sometimes a flight of 
locusts, resembling vast clouds of mist rolling 
along the mountain sides, and darkening the 
sun; — or falling, thick and innumerable, like 
snow-flakes in a heavy storm. The sport, too, 
perilous and difficult, was still the grandest 
and most exciting in the known world, em- 
bracing every variety of wild animal, from 
the lordly lion and majestic elephant, to the 
fierce jackall and wild cat. Many were the 
hair-breadth escapes, the imminent perils of 
the fearless philosopher, in his struggles with 
these monarchs of the desert. One, in parti- 
cular, is not undeserving of notice. 

One day, when accompanied only by two 
of his Hottentot attendants, he unexpectedly 
encountered a huge and savage lion in the 
plain. There was no alternative but to at- 
tack it — retreat was impossible. His first 
barrel only smashed the animal's shoulder; 
upon seeing which the two attendants for- 
sook him and fled. That was indeed a mo- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 207 

ment of fearful peril ! His life depended on 
the small bit of lead in his left barrel, and 
who would not have valued life under such 
circumstances ? The lion charged him with 
an appalling roar, and, springing with savage 
and horrible violence upon his horse, lacerated 
his haunches fearfully. At that instant, 
Arthur Sherborne remembered his family 
motto, ^ Deo adjiwante, non timendum^' and, 
taking a cool and deliberate aim at the animal 
from about five yards, rolled him over and 
over in the dust, never to rise again ! At 
this sight, the cowardly Hottentots came up 
from a distance, remarking to one another in 
Dutch that the haas (master) bore a charmed 
life* 

After three months of solitary wanderings 
and no inconsiderable hardships, sometimes 
spending days and nights under heavy rain 
with no better roof than a bushy tree, and 

* This incident really took place precisely as here re- 
lated. 



208 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

subsisting almost entirely upon the produce 
of his gun, he once more turned his face in 
the direction of the colony, having killed 
every description of known quadruped in 
countless numbers. But when within about 
eight hundred miles of Colesbury, his horses 
were suddenly seized with a distemper com- 
mon in those regions at a particular season 
of the year, and in one single fortnight he 
lost them all, excepting two. His guides 
next contrived to get hold of some brandy, 
which was in one of his chests ; and, making 
themselves horribly drunk on a difficult march 
in his absence, broke the axle-tree of his 
baggage-waggon — upon which, finding it im- 
possible to repair the disaster, they, as well 
as his Hottentot attendants, decamped in the 
middle of the night, leaving him a solitary 
wreck in the wilderness. There were no less 
than three deserts of deep sand between him 
and Colesbury ; and, in crossing these, he was 
often three or four days without water, and 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 209 

on the point of perishing from fatigue and 
exhaustion. To crown the whole, his last 
remaining horse was one night killed by lions 
within a few yards of where he lay. Then his 
strength failed him, and, worn out by the 
perils and fatigues he had undergone, he aban- 
doned all thoughts of pursuing his journey, 
and laid himself down on the parched sand, 
convinced that a few short hours would put 
a period to his sufferings and his life. In 
this situation he was found by some mission- 
aries, who, hearing he had been deserted by 
his attendants, went out in search of him, and 
conveyed him to Colesbury. But he had no 
sooner arrived there than he was attacked by 
a violent fever, the consequence, no doubt, 
of all he had undergone, and from which his 
life was, for some time, in the most imminent 
danger. He struggled through it, however, but 
never entirely rallied ; and a state of nervous de- 
jection and debility came on, which threatened 
to be more fatal to him than the fever itself. 



210 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

It was about this time that, happening to 
fall in with an old English newspaper, giving 
a detailed account of the fire at Oriel, 
and the melancholy death of its venerable 
proprietor, he perceived an incidental allusion 
to Evelyn, whose illness, it was observed, had 
been the probable means of preserving the 
life of Mrs. Percy by preventing her from 
accompanying her grandfather and infant to 
Oriel. The unexpected and rapturous hope 
that he drew from this paragraph, that the 
report of Evelyn's death might have been 
a false one, produced so violent an effect 
upon his shattered nerves, as to induce a re- 
currence of the fever scarcely less violent 
than the original attack had been. No sooner, 
however, was he able to leave his bed, than he 
resolutely turned his face towards home, de- 
termined to ascertain, with positive certainty, 
the fate of his beloved. He suffered much 
during the voyage, both in body and mind. 
There were times when he felt a certainty of 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 21 1 

her death amounting to despair ; — others, 
when hope rose high within him, and he felt, 
he kneiv, she had not perished. x\nd, oh ! if 
she were but living still, how he would watch 
over her, cherish her, pray for her ! Even if 
her reason should be still obscured, it mat- 
tered not ; — the voice of Jiis deep love should 
penetrate to her soul, and find an echo there ; 
should pierce the gloom which the ambition, 
the selfishness, and cruelty of others had so 
long cast around it. 

At length, once more, he set his foot on his 
native land — the mere wreck of what he had 
been, and hurried immediately to London, 
where his inquiries soon elicited the wished- 
for information. She lived! — it was enough ! 

Full of an ecstasy of gladness, which 
changed for him the face of all creation, he 
hurried into Wales. 

When he arrived at Eridge, it chanced that 
Helen was out; she had gone with Lady 
Charles but a few moments before into the 



212 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

villao:e. Announcino^ himself to the servant 
of an old friend of Mrs. Percy's, he requested 
permission to saunter about in the pleasure- 
grounds till her return, which was very soon 
expected. This was, of course, immediately 
granted ; but the man, pointing in the direc- 
tion of the avenue, observed that Miss Har- 
court was playing there, and might be startled 
if he went too near her ; he could, however, 
hear the singing perfectly, if he should wish it, 
from the beech-tree seat close by. 

Arthur Sherborne put a powerful check upon 
himself whilst listening to these words ; and, 
having succeeded in mastering all outward 
signs of emotion, with a gliding and noiseless 
step drew near to the spot where she was. 
For some moments, he remained gazing upon 
her as though spell -bound. There she was — 
more like a vision of the skies than a being of 
this world — lovelier, far lovelier, in his eyes, 
than she had been in the proudest days of 
her triumphant beauty. There she was — she. 



EVEON HARCOURT. 213 

whom he had mourned for so many weary 
months as lost ! Even as he gazed upon her, 
he could scarcely believe it. 

Then she sang ; and, as he listened to that 
wild and impassioned air, changing gradually 
to a low and mournful plaint, and heard the 
touching words in which she lamented her 
infirmity, his fortitude at last gave way ; — he 
wept — yes ; the calm and stately philosopher 
actually wept — such tears as he had never 
shed before... 

But tears were soon over for both of them. 
And now, behold him sitting by her side, in 
the calm, mysterious moonlight, her hand 
clasped in his — her rapt countenance, glowing 
with unutterable love, upraised towards his — 
as he tells her of his wanderings and his 
grief, and laying bare his soul before her, she 
evermore finds her image there. Oh ! blessed 
moments of the first sweet reunion ! — what in 
after-life can equal them?... 



214 EVELYN HARCOURT. 



CHAPTER XLI. 

She, like a moon in wane, 

Faded before him 

self-folding, like a flower 

That faints into itself at evening hour. 

Keates. 

Orosmane. Quel caprice etonnant, que je ne consols pas ! 
Vous m'aimez ? Eh ! pourquoi vous forcez vous, cruelle 
A dechirer le cceur d'un amant si fidele ? 

CORNEILLE. 

A long, long kiss — a kiss of youth, and love, 

And beauty 

Byron. 

Helen and Arthur Sherborne were mutually 
struck with the change in each other's ap- 
pearance. Suffering had fearfully altered her 
in particular ; and he looked in vain for any 
trace of the fair, placid girl he had known in 
former days; who had been ever quiet and 
inclining to gravity, indeed, but cheerful and 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 215 

free from care. Now, in her deep mourning 
dress, pale and subdued, she looked the sha- 
dow of her former self — a flower withering 
before its time. 

As her bodily strength diminished, her in- 
tense feeling and sympathy for those around 
her seemed rather to increase. The joy and 
excitement of Mr. Sherborne's return, of 
which, for many reasons, she had hitherto 
despaired, affected her to an extraordinary 
degree. The very intensity of her thankful- 
ness was too much for her; she was no longer 
equal to strong emotion of any kind ; and 
although, as ever, her exterior was tolerably 
calm, yet sleepless nights, continual fever, 
and corresponding lassitude, were the inva- 
riable consequences of any unusual agitation. 
Evelyn, in the mean while, completely ab- 
sorbed in the new and exquisite existence 
that had thus suddenly opened for her, and 
unable to mark the hectic flush, the painful 
stoop, and hollow eye, which to others were 



216 EVELYN H ARCOURT. 

only too apparent, felt little or no anxiety at 
this particular time to mar the perfection of 
her felicity. There was one, however, who 
watched each little symptom of decaying 
strength with pangs unutterable — who never 
for a moment deceived herself as to the pro- 
bable result of Helen's illness ; that one was 
Lady Charles. 

Many were the serious conversations that 
now took place between these two friends, 
outwardly calm, indeed, but in which the soul 
of one was torn with struggles that almost 
equalled those of former years. Helen had 
begun to speak of the probability of her ap- 
proaching death to Lady Charles, though as 
yet she had never alluded to it in the re- 
motest manner before Evelyn. But feeling, 
as she did, that her life was indeed drawing 
near its close, and knowing how fearful and 
desperate a struggle must take place before 
that solitary heart could willingly give up 
the only thing that formed its blessing and 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 217 

consolation, she unceasingly endeavoured by 
her influence to soften the bitter trial which 
she felt must come, by preparing her to meet 
it with submission. 

" But a few years more," would she say, 
'* and all will be over for you as well as me. 
But Eternity ! — think of the meaning of that 
word ! What suffering, what toil and sorrow, 
may not be borne with Eternity in view ; an 
existence ever beginning, ever glorious — with- 
out possibility of change or end ! Oh, how 
paltry, how less than insignificant, do the 
events, and interests, and passions of time 
appear, when compared with that unimagined, 
immortal existence ! Its very grandeur calms 
the spirit — its boundless contemplation raises 
it above this weary and unsatisfying world. 
What are a few years more or less ? — a drop 
of time in the ocean of Eternity ; valueless, 
except as a preparation for the glorious change 
that shall soon follow !" 

" Ah, Helen, you speak as one on the verge 

VOL. III. L 



218 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

of that Eternity ! Your race is nearly run — 
your journey's end in view. You forget those 
you leave behind, still toiling up the rough 
ascent, with none to assist or cheer them on 
the way." 

" It is precisely because I do 7iot forget 
them, that I speak thus openly before you. 
I would extend my influence, which you say 
has ever comforted you, beyond the grave ; I 
would cheer you still. Life has no charms 
for me — you know it has not : for m^ sake, 
therefore, you cannot grieve when I shake off 
this mortal coil. Think of me as unutterably 
happy — united once again to those I loved so 
well on earth : look to the time when we 
shall meet, to part no more; watch over 
those I leave behind me, for my sake — the 
poor, the afflicted, the friendless. Be to 
them a friend and protector, and let them 
not feel my loss." 

Then, with the wisdom of true benevo- 
lence, which her intimate knowledge of Lady 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 2 1 9 

Charles's mind suggested to her, she would 
proceed to mention various objects of especial 
interest, all more or less unfortunate, and all 
dependent on herself; and she would in a 
manner give them into her charge. Well 
did she know that every request of hers would 
be considered as sacred — every labour would 
for her sake become light, and would be 
something towards rendering that weary life 
more tolerable. Her memory would hallow 
every work, and throw a charm over every 
duty. 

But, although Lady Charles, with that un- 
selfishness which, from the first, had marked 
her intercourse with Helen, contrived, by dint 
of powerful efforts, to master her feelings in 
her presence, these conversations were gene- 
rally followed by solitary struggles so dread- 
ful, that they almost shook her reason. To 
have attained peace at last — to have acquired 
something worth living for, and then to lose 
that single, solitary interest — to have her 

l2 



220 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

heart seared again — her life rendered an 
utter hlank — it was fearful I 

And Helen, too ! Her hours of weakness 
Avere not always hours of peace. She could 
not but think, and mournfully, of those she 
should leave behind ; one, especially, who 
was so totally unprepared to lose her. She 
grieved much for Lady Charles ; but her very 
heart sank within her when she thought of 
Evelyn, whom she had nursed, and watched 
over, and cherished, with more than the love 
of a sister. It was true, Evelyn had now 
another being to love ; one, too, in whom her 
very soul was bound up; but even Arthur 
Sherborne, she fondly believed, would not be 
able at first to heal the wound her loss would 
create. 

One day, when she was sadly pondering 
over these things, Arthur Sherborne himself 
appeared before her with a countenance of such 
extreme dejection, that, alarmed, she inquired 
the cause, and found from him that Evelyn 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 221 

was resolved, firmly resolved, never to become 
his wife, and that she had that very morning 
told him so, not, however, without great agi- 
tation on her own part. *' She would never," 
she had said, " render him the sharer of such 
a calamity as had befallen herself. She had 
often thouofht of it — often asked her secret soul 
the question — whether, if he should ever re- 
turn, and be willing to burthen himself with 
one so afflicted, she would have strength and 
disinterestedness to resist him ; and she had 
prayed, earnestly prayed, for his sake, to be 
enabled to do so." 

In vain he had implored — reasoned with 
her — remonstrated — her resolution appeared 
to be unchangeable. With tears, and the 
most passionate assurances of devotion, she 
had declared that she would live for him — 
worship him — pray for him — but 7iever be his 
wife ! 

He appeared crushed by this unexpected 
blow. To find her again — his long-lost, 



222 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

long-lamented treasure, and thus, by her own 
hand, to be separated from her.... when her 
infirmity only rendered her thousands and 
thousands of times dearer in his sight ; when 
to lead her along the path of life would be 
his greatest happiness, his most exalted pri- 
vilege — would make this world, liitherto with- 
out an interest for him, a Paradise of hope ! — 

In vain, Helen endeavoured lo soothe him, 
and promised to use her utmost influence — to 
leave no argument untried by which she might 
hope to touch her. He seemed to despair of 
any favourable result. An idea of mistaken 
generosity — of false disinterestedness — had 
taken possession of her mind, and to it she 
would sacrifice both his happiness and her 
own. 

That night Arthur Sherborne was seized 
with a return of the same fever which had 
twice before perilled his life. In the ravings 
of his delirium, he was incessantly calling upon 
Evelyn, sometimes in tones of agonizing re- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 223 

proach, sometimes in accents of the fondest 
endearment ; whilst she listened, crouched at 
his chamber-door, with tearless e3^es, but 
anguish so intense that the expression of her 
countenance was fearful to look upon. She 
accused herself of having occasioned his illness. 
He had quitted her the night before in a state 
of excitement bordering on phrenzj. Yet it 
was for his dear sake that she had thus tor- 
tured both herself and him. 

A few days of dreadful apprehension — of 
alternate hope and fear, which seemed to her 
like ages of misery — and then he once more 
rallied. But the morning that he was first 
allowed to leave his room and come down 
stairs, Helen was shocked at the alteration that 
a few days of fever had produced in him. It 
was well that Evelyn could not see him then ! 
What would have been her feelings had she 
done so ? 

It was a touching meeting, the first between 
those lovers; their short separation had seemed 



224 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

to both like one of months. She soon dis- 
covered, by his trembling hand, low voice, and 
fluttering pulse, how much reduced he was ; 
and then she gave herself up to the exquisite 
delight of surrounding him with all those 
little attentions which love like hers suggests, 
and which her infirmity rendered doubly 
affecting. Unassisted, she placed the easy 
chair for him near the open window; she 
felt her well known way to the terrace, and 
gathered for him the freshest roses she could 
find ; she went unasked to her harp, and sang 
his favourite airs to him one by one, in accents 
softer than usual. And how his eyes followed 
her wherever she moved ! It seemed as if he 
could not bear to lose sight of her for a single 
instant. How dark, how dreary, had been 
the last days without her ! 

She was feeling her way, with an unusually 
rapid step, along the passage to the oak par- 
lour, in search of a book she fancied he might 
like to read, when she encountered Helen. 



EVELYN HARCOLRT. 225 

" Where are you hurrying, love ?" 

" To the oak parlour ; don't detain me. I 
want that Review; he was reading it the 
other day — he seemed to like it ! It is on the 
same shelf, is not it ?" 

"Shall I fetch it for you?" 

" No, no !" was the almost indignant reply; 
" I can do that." 

She was hurrying away, but — 

" Evelyn !" cried Helen, suddenly, in a tone 
that immediately arrested her. 

" What, what ?" 

" I am very unhappy about Arthur." 

Evelyn started and turned deadly pale. 

" Arthur.. ..why ?...." 

" You cannot see him as I do. His looks 
are dreadful." 

" Oh, heavens ! send for Dr. Williams in- 
stantly — instantly ! I will go and order...." 

But Helen laid her hand upon her shoulder. 

" Dr. Williams can do nothing more for 
him than he has done," said she, calmly; " and 

l5 



226 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

he has seen him to-day already. There is but 
one person who can save him, and that is — 
yourself !" 

" Me !" 

'' You, Evelyn ! you are breaking his heart 
— I assure you, I think so. If you persist in 
your present conduct, he will die ; believe me, 
you will lose him !" 

An extraordinary expression broke over the 
speaking countenance of the blind girl at 
these words! Was it joy? — ungovernable, 
insane joy?.... 



" Helen, are you not deceiving me? Is 
this your real opinion ?" 

" It is, indeed ! I speak advisedly. If you 
could have watched him, as I have — if you 
had heard Dr. Williams's opinion this morning 
— the emphatic manner in which he said that 
the slightest agitation, the least distress of 
mind, or anxiety now, would almost certainly 
bring on a recurrence of that fever, and that 
such a recurrence, such another attack, as he 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 227 

has just had, would most probably kill him — 
if you had heard this, as I did, you would have 
no doubt yourself. Evelyn, he will die, unless 
by one word of yours — one little word — you 
raise him again to life and hope. Can you 
doubt that it is your duty to speak that 
word?" 

Evelyn seized her hand with eagerness, and, 
clasping it to her bosom, raised those glorious 
eyes to heaven. 

" Say no more," said she. " What have I 
done to be so blessed ?" 

A few moments more, and she was again 
by Arthur's side, and he was gazing with sur- 
prise upon her unusually flushed cheek and 
excited countenance. 

" Here is the Review you seemed to like 
the other day," said she, in a trembling voice. 

" And you found it for me, sweet one !" 
he replied, tenderly stroking her long, dark 
hair. 

"■ Alas 1 I cannot read it to you !" said she, 



228 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

mournfully. '' Oh, that I were not blind !.... 
But there is one thing I can do — I can love 
you as none ever loved before !".... 

'* Ah, Evelyn ! and yet you will not be 
mine ! You hold the cup of happiness to my 
lips, yet you refuse to let me drink of it. Is 
this generous ? You will kill me at last," he 
added, with a deep sigh ; " you have half 
killed me already ! I thought it was all over 
with me the other day !" 

" Arthur, Arthur — do not speak such 
words! I know, by what I have felt these 
last few days, that I never could survive your 
loss." 

*' Then, if you do love me," he murmured, 
feebly drawing her closer and closer to his 
bosom, " be mine — mine own...." 

As he bent over her, gazing with inex- 
pressible tenderness on her beloved features, 
she felt his quick-drawn breath upon her 
cheek. 

A faint blush tinged her own. By a slight. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 229 

a very slight movement, but one that was per- 
ceptible to him, she raised her lips to his. 

" I will — I will be yours ! " murmured 
she. 

From that day Arthur Sherborne rapidly 
recovered. The perfection of his happiness 
seemed almost to change his nature. He be- 
came an altered being, and lost that gravity 
for which he had always hitherto been so re- 
markable. There was scarcely a moment of 
the day in which Evelyn was not reminded, by 
his unusual joyousness, the singular exuber- 
ance of his spirits, how she had raised him 
from the depths of despair to the very summit 
of happiness ; she, who had believed that she 
was incapable of making that happiness. And 
how he watched over her, how he was ever 
alive to prevent her wishes, almost before she 
was conscious of them herself ! How he che- 
rished her for that very infirmity, which had 
so nearly been the means of separating them ! 
How many and many a time did he assure her 



230 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

that she was dearer, far dearer to him now — 
blind, dependant as she was — than she had 
ever been in her proudest days of triumphant 
beauty ! Was she not more immediately his 
own? — was she not the means of producing 
to him a thousand delicious emotions ? The 
pleasure of serving her — a feeling that upon 
him she depended for help, and that she pre- 
ferred that help to every other — did not he 
owe this to her ? Now, too, he could prove 
his love; there was scarcely a moment in 
which he could not prove it, in one shape or 
another. 

From the hour that Evelyn consented to 
become his, Arthur Sherborne laid down for 
himself a happy and a holy aim in life, a duty 
which he swore never to neglect — to surround 
her with such perfect and unchanging tender- 
ness, that she should learn to forget her in- 
firmity, and cease, if possible, to suffer from 
it. She should be no longer blind — he would 
be as sight to her. Every thing exquisite 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 231 

and beautiful in creation, which she could no 
longer behold, he would make visible to her 
mental sight by the power of his intellect. 
For her his imagination should be never idle, 
for her his poetic fancy should be incessantly 
at work. Whatever of richness, of genius, 
and power, his mind possessed, should be 
called forth and exerted in her behalf. Fame 
he valued not — he had more than enough of 
it already ; in her should his ambition be 
centred henceforth ; she should be his idol, 
and her approbation alone his reward. 

There was certainly something very touch- 
ing in the devotion of these two to one ano- 
ther : it was hard to say which manifested it 
the most strongly. They had loved each 
other secretly when the world was smiling 
upon them, when admiration was surrounding 
them on every side ; and they had turned 
from the giddy throng to each other, and 
unconsciously their hearts had interchanged 
communion ; and now in adversity, when one, 



232 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

at least, was abandoned by the world, they 
loved each other even more fondly still. 

In the mean time, the news of his return 
had spread, and his country was ringing with 
the sound of his fame. He found it no longer 
possible to resist the importunities that as- 
sailed him on all sides to come up to London 
for a time, and consent to receive the homage 
that all were anxious to render. He was in 
a manner public property, and he must not 
hope to conceal himself from the demonstra- 
tions of public admiration. Unwillingly, there- 
fore, he at last consented to go ; and little as 
he had ever valued the applause of the mul- 
titude, even he could not be wholly indiffe- 
rent to the universal homage that met him on 
all sides. The public papers teemed with his 
praises — a personal interview was granted 
him by the highest personage in the realm — a 
baronetcy conferred upon him, unsolicited on 
his part — and a high political appointment 
offered him, if he would consent to join the 



EVELYN HARCOURT. $33 

party then in power. But, although to the 
former, as a mark of distinction for success- 
ful talent, he might attach some trifling value 
for Evelyn's sake, nothing would induce him 
to accept the latter then. His devotion to 
her would render public life intolerable to 
him ; and his literary pursuits were to him 
more dear than aught else, except her smile. 

And, oh, with what delighted pride did she 
listen to the accounts of the distinguished 
honour, the unexampled enthusiasm, with 
which he was welcomed back to his native 
land — the public dinners that were given him 
— the speeches that were addressed to him — 
the compliments that were paid him — by the 
noblest, and proudest, and best in the land ! 
And this wonderful being, whose genius had 
exalted him so far above his fellow-men — 
whom all delighted to honour — this gifted 
beino- was hers! He w^hom a nation admired 
had stooped to her— the poor, blind girl ; and 
well she knew that a single look of hers was 



234 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

more to him than the favour of kings, and 
the applause of the multitude ! Was she not 
happy ? 

In the mean time, Helen was becoming 
more and more anxious that her marriage 
should take place without delay. There were 
certain symptoms about herself — sensations 
she could scarcely, perhaps, explain — but 
which convinced her each day, more and 
more, that her life would not be much pro- 
longed, and before its close she wished to see 
her darling safe. Once under the avowed 
protection, the tender care, of Arthur Sher- 
borne, she felt she should no longer have a 
fear or an anxiety about her. 

But Evelyn at first resisted all entreaties 
that she would fix a period for her marriage. 
Her joy was so great when her lover returned 
to her — she was so exquisitely happy as she 
was, that she would willingly have prolonged 
that delicious period if she could. She felt 
averse to any change — any alteration what- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 235 

ever. At length, however, perceiving that 
Helen was beginning to disapprove of her pro- 
longed delay, and to consider it selfish, and 
that Arthur himself was becoming less light- 
hearted, more anxious, than he had been — 
she yielded to the strongly expressed wishes 
of both, and a period was actually fixed for 
the celebration of the wedding. It was to 
take place quite privately at Bridge, and Lady 
Truro was almost the only person invited to 
be present, besides their own party. She was 
at that time staying with her relations, Sir 
Aubrey and Lady Harcourt at Burgh Weston, 
and for many reasons she felt it a duty to 
accept the invitation, much as she dreaded 
beholding both Evelyn and Arthur again. As 
for them, when they gazed upon her, and saw 
how changed she was, how fallen from her 
high estate, the chief feeling she excited in 
their hearts was one of deep compassion. If 
her faults had been great, she had at least 
been severely punished for them, and had 



236 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

borne that punishment well. She was hand- 
some still ; but so faded, so careworn, so un- 
like the gay and brilliant creature she had 
been in former times! — and in spite of her 
excellent management, there was such a 
pinched and parsimonious look about her, like 
one who, either from choice or from necessity, 
was continually denying herself the commonest 
comforts ! And this was what she actually 
did ; for, notwithstanding her poverty and 
complete dependance upon others, such was 
her infatuation for her dissolute husband, that 
she could never hear of his being in want of 
money, (and that was almost as often as she 
did hear of him) without immediately sending 
him the miserable savings she had hoarded up 
from the charity of Evelyn for that purpose. 
She still hoped to reclaim him ; — she still 
trusted that her forbearance, her indulgence, 
would plead for her at last, and that he would 
return to her one day repentant and reformed. 
They could not encourage her much in this 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 237 

hope. Considering his mode of life, and the 
length of time such habits had been indulged 
in, they could not consider his reform as very 
probable, but they trusted for her sake that it 
might at last take place, and they sincerely 
pitied her sorrows as a wife. Her brother 
had offered her a home, and a small yearly 
sum for her own personal expenses, provided 
she would promise never to see nor commu- 
nicate with Lord Truro again, but this propo- 
sition she had indignantly rejected ; and, on 
his then refusing to receive her in his house, 
she had taken refuge with her connexion. Sir 
Aubrey Harcourt, a man of small fortune, but 
remarkable liberality. He and his beautiful 
wife had welcomed her to Bargh Weston with 
cordial kindness, and Sir Aubrey had pressed 
upon her a small yearly sum, to be paid regu- 
larly till some permanent and satisfactory ar- 
rano:ement could be made with Lord Truro 
respecting an allowance. Evelyn so earnestly 
entreated to be allowed the same privilege. 



238 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

that Lady Truro opposed but a feeble resist- 
ance to her wishes ; though even she was not 
so callous as to be able to receive without 
compunction the generous aid of one she had 
so cruelly injured. The sight of Evelyn, with 
her melancholy infirmity, was to her a bitter 
and continual reproach ; and though she list- 
ened with apparent pleasure and real gratitude 
to the oft-repeated entreaties that she would 
make the Priory her home, still she felt in her 
inmost heart that any home in the wide world 
would be preferable to that, where she would 
be continually reminded of the saddest portion 
of her life, as well as the most culpable ; — and 
where every act of kindness that was shown 
her would be a kind of tacit reproach to herself. 
There were not many persons besides Helen 
and Lady Charles, who were aware that Evelyn, 
after all, was not unlikely to turn out an heiress 
in a small way. Helen had settled a large 
part of her own private income on her hus- 
band's relations, and the rest on her cousin 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 239 

Harry Bridge ; but the whole of the sum she 
derived from Lady Charles, as well as the 
Priory itself and the adjoining property, would 
become Evelyn's on her death ; — such having 
been the arrangement of that lady at the time 
that she made over the estate to Helen. 
Neither Evelyn nor her lover were, however, 
aware of this circumstance; indeed, money 
was the very last thing that occupied their 
thoughts at this time. He had very early 
given instructions to his lawyer to settle all 
that he possessed upon Evelyn ; — and having 
so done, he troubled his head no more about 
settlements, nor aught concerning them. He 
knew that he was rich enough for all that they 
required. He had long ago paid off his father's 
debts, and his works were continually bringing 
him in large sums of money. Their only diffi- 
culty, he believed, would be how to dispose of 
their income, especially since, for a time at 
least, they w^ere to continue to live at Eridge. 
A few days before the wedding, they were 



240 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

all delighted by an unexpected piece of good 
news ; — nothing less than a projected union 
between Mr. Chisholm and Adelaide Eridge. 
He had seen something of her during her stay 
at the Priory ; indeed, it was partly through 
her means that he had again discovered his lost 
relative. The acquaintance, thus begun, had 
been improved abroad, and had at length 
ripened into a strong mutual attachment. No- 
thing could possibly have gratified Lady 
Charles more than this intelligence, for both 
parties were unusually amiable and excellent, 
and she felt that thus her former home would 
be graced by a mistress worthy of it. All 
united, however, in pitying poor Julia, who 
would now be left to the mercy of her ec- 
centric mother. But it was not long before 
she too had to announce her approaching 
marriage to the young Lord Montgomery, who, 
rich, amiable, and good-looking, was a yet 
higher parti than the other. He was the 
living image of his still beautiful mother. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 241 

whose tale of touching and sorrowful interest 
was yet fresh in the recollection of all ; — and 
gladly did she welcome for her son such a wife 
as Julia Eridge, for a sad experience had 
taught her that not wealth nor grandeur, but 
virtue and true affection, are the ingredients 
that constitute real happiness in married life. 
And now, as the day fixed for Evelyn's 
wedding approached, to the surprise of all, 
her spirits became visibly depressed. She felt 
an unaccountable dread of some impending 
evil — some heavy calamity hanging over her, 
which she was powerless to avert. In vain she 
struggled against these forebodings ; — in vain 
she reasoned with herself, and strove to shake 
them off; — they would recur, oppressing her 
with a sense of fear and of discouragement, 
which she had thought never to know again. 
Ah ! if the cup of happiness, but just raised 
to her lips, should now be dashed away — how 
should she endure it? . . . 

VOL. III. M 



242 EVELYN HARCOURT. 



CHAPTER XLII. 



This is your wedding day... 

Taming of the Shrew. 

Enfans, ma seule joie en mes longs deplaisirs, 
Ces festons dans vos mains, et ces fleurs... 

CORNEILLE. 

I should bid good morrow to my bride, 

And seal the title with a loving kiss. 

Taming of the Shrew. 

The long expected day dawned at length — 
a lovely morning in the beginning of Sep- 
tember ; and never did the sun rise more 
gloriously ; never was there a bluer or more 
cloudless sky than on this auspicious day. 

The wedding was to be strictly private — so 
it had been said; but there could be little 
privacy in what concerned Evelyn, The 
whole county was interested in such an event 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 243 

as her marriage, and nearly the whole county 
was present. Not a cranny, not a corner, in 
that old church, but was crowded with spec- 
tators, some of whom had been there many 
hours. It was a touching sight, the children 
of her school — the children whom she had 
taught, dressed in their best to do her honour 
— the poor whom she had relieved, and whose 
blessings would follow her wherever she went 
— all were collected round, a serious and a 
devoted congregation — all were awaiting, in 
silent expectation, her appearance. 

And now the bridal party are approaching, 
and there is a solemn hush in the old church. 
She enters at length — that beautiful bride- 
blind, but oh, how lovely ! Her lover leads 
her on. How trustingly she leans upon his 
arm, and with what proud and doting tender- 
ness he guides her steps ! 

They have reached the altar, and the friends 
who follow group themselves around. Not 
many are there ; but one — one cannot be 

M 2 



244 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

overlooked — and many a sad and tearful eye is 
fixed on the wan countenance and emaciated 
form of Helen, as, faint and trembling, she 
stands close to the playmate, the companion 
of her youth, from whom she is now about 
to be separated for a short space, and soon, 
perhaps, for ever I 

But, hark ! the service has begun ; and, 
with her graceful head slightly inclined to- 
wards her lover, Evelyn is listening with rapt 
attention to those solemn words in which they 
exchange their plighted faith. And when 
their hands are joined, and the mysterious 
ring, the symbol of their union, is placed 
upon her finger, and he gently presses that 
hand, his own now, in token of his undying 
faith, her cheek flushes, and her whole frame 
trembles with emotion.... A few, a very few 
tears fall ; but they are tears of thankfulness. 

And now it is over, and she is, indeed, his 
own ; and nothing on this side the grave can 
separate them more. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 245 

Beautiful being ! innocent in thine afflic- 
tion — touching in thy gentle patience ! — there 
is not a heart that does not feel for thee now 
— scarce an eye that is not wet as it rests on 
thy sweet face.... 

See, the children are crowding around her ; 
some have seized her hands, some her white 
dress — all strive to approach her once more, 
and bid her a last farewell. And many a 
youthful voice is wishing her joy, and many 
an aged lip is blessing her, the sweet bride, as 
she passes. ...And friends and neighbours are 
gathering around her on every side : she sees 
them not; but she recognises their voices, 
and has a kind word, a grateful reply, for 
each. 

It is indeed a touching scene; and even 
Arthur Sherborne, though he struggles hard 
to maintain his manly bearing, for many eyes 
are on him, cannot view it without emotion. 
As for Helen — poor Helen! — she is utterly 
overcome ! 



246 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

But they have reached the church door; 
and now a shout as of a thousand voices has 
rent the air, as they come forth, and it 
spreads far and wide, for the old churchyard 
is thronged with crowds of eager spectators, 
who press upon each other to catch a glimpse 
of them as they pass. But the way is kept 
clear for them by strong and determined 
arms, and their path is strewed with flowers... 
And as they advance, the shouts increase ; and, 
overcome for a moment by such continued and 
unusual excitement, she trembles, and turns 
pale. But he is there to reassure and to 
support her, and to whisper words of tender- 
ness in her ear And she waves her hand in 

token of adieu ; and amidst tears, and shouts, 
and blessings, she reaches the little gate, and 
slowly enters the carriage — he rapidly follows 
her : one farewell, deafening shout — and they 
are oft\' 

But all is not yet over; for one painful 
part yet remains for her to play — to bid fare- 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 247 

well to Helen ; and her heart is oppressed at 
the prospect. Ah ! could she but see her — 
could she but behold that altered face for a 
single moment — how would her present joy be 
dashed with grief and apprehension !.... But, 
for the first time, Helen rejoices that she is 
blind ; and, true to her self-denying devotion 
to the last, she has nerved herself for one 
mighty, final effort of exertion and self-con- 
trol. Not now shall any symptom of weak- 
ness on her part appear, either mental or 
bodily — not now shall the slightest cloud of 
iier producing mar the brightness of Evelyn's 
radiant sky ! Yet she doubts if she shall ever 
behold her again.... 

With a busy hand she assists the pale and 
trembling hride to assume her travelling dress ; 
she even reproves the weeping Mrs. Hart for 
betraying so much weakness, when there 
should be nothing now but joy ! Tenderly, 
but without hesitation, she leads her down into 
the room where first she promised to be his. 



248 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

But for the first time Evelyn turns from 
her lover, and throws herself, convulsed in 
tears, into the arms of her early friend, her 
more than sister — and Helen has become 
deadly pale, and is ready to faint. But a 
sign, a look, from Lady Charles, who is in- 
tently watching her, and Arthur Sherborne is 
again by their side, and he gently draws away 
his weeping bride, and supports her, half 
fainting, to the carriage. Then the servants 
crowd into the porch to see ber go; but 
she does not heed them — she is weeping 
passionately; and for a few moments no- 
thing but sobs and murmured farewells are 
heard. 

Now Helen's task is done. Bravely has 
she played her part to the last, but now her 
strength has given way. When the last faint 
sounds of those departing wheels have ceased 
in the distance, and with a sigh of excited 
feeling the servants turn again into the house, 
it is to see their beloved mistress, pale and 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 249 

insensible, supported in the arms of Lady 
Truro and Lady Charles, the latter of whom, 
during the whole of this trying morning, has 
scarcely lost sight of her for an instant. 



M 5 



250 EVELYN HARCOURT. 



CHAPTER LXIII. 

. . . Each day 
She is a little weaker ; — feebler grows 
The thin white hand ; — a bright flush 
Spreads sometimes o'er the whiteness of her cheek, 
Then dies away, like the last rosy gleam 
Of the descended sun on evening skies ; 
A sure and fearful omen that the night 
Is closing o'er its beauty. 

Prowse. 



. . . Let no tear 
Be shed, even in thought. 



Shelley. 



c . . Thy cheek is pale 
For one whose cheek is pale — thou dost bewail 
Her tears who weeps for thee. 

'Tis she, but lo ! 
How changed ! how full of ache ! how gone in woe ! 

Keates. 

The decay of nature with Helen had always 
been less rapid than she had anticipated, and 
so it continued to be. It was like the falling 
away of leaves in autumn ; — from day to day, 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 251 

scarcely any change was observed by others, 
although there was a change, certain, percep- 
tible, and by no means unwelcome to herself. 

It was now that with striking and wonder- 
ful composure she set herself to prepare for 
the event which she felt would not be much 
longer delayed. She would " set her house in 
order, for she must die /" Nothing was left 
undone, no arrangement omitted, that could 
either benefit others when she was gone, or 
mitigate their grief for her loss. To Lady 
Charles she not only confided the particular 
care of all those amongst the poor whom she 
was herself in the habit of relieving, but her 
school was formally given over to her charge, 
and the astonished and weeping children were 
calmly told that they must look upon her in 
future as their friend and instructress. 

She assisted Lady Charles, too, with her 
opinion and advice respecting the cottage near 
the Priory, which was now to be her home ; — 
for Lady Charles had no intention of con- 



552 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

tinuing at Eridge. Many reasons com- 
bined to determine her against doing so, and 
Helen refrained from combating them, for 
she felt that, under all the circumstances, it 
was far better that she should have a home of 
her own, and that at once there would be 
greater independence, more perfect liberty, 
for her thus; — and Evelyn, she well knew, 
would do all that the most watchful kindness 
could suggest, to soothe and cheer her. Her 
little cottage was only a few hundred yards 
from the lodge-gate, and very small it was ; — 
but it fully equalled her wishes, and it should 
be furnished in the simplest manner, and there 
would she pass the solitary remnant of her 
days — how she scarcely dared to think. 

Her arrangements were not long in making ; 
and the cottage was speedily ready for her 
reception. She intended, indeed, to establish 
herself there before Evelyn's return, in order 
to avoid her urgent entreaties to remain at 
Eridge, as well as those of her husband, 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 253 

which she well knew she would have to 
encounter. 

Helen had, without her knowledge, written 
some time before to her former attendant, 
Mrs. Woods, who, as my readers are already 
aware, was deeply attached to her ; and she 
had easily prevailed upon this excellent woman 
to leave her small shop to the care of her 
sister, and instal herself in the cottage as 
housekeeper, for a time at least, whilst her 
young daughter should live with her, and act 
as assistant to the mistress of the Bridge 
schools. Lady Charles was not a little af- 
fected when she was informed of this arranofe- 
ment, w^hich proved so forcibly Helen's thought- 
ful and tender solicitude concerning her future; 
whilst to Helen herself it was an inexpressible 
comfort to feel that there would be one person 
at least always about her unfortunate friend, 
who was well acquainted with her peculiarities 
of mind, and who would watch over her with 
a faithful and true affection. 



254 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

Helen's strength was now so much reduced, 
that she could no longer walk without con- 
siderable difficulty and fatigue. She had not 
quitted the house for many days ; — but one 
morning Lady Charles was surprised to find 
her sitting in the oak parlour, ready prepared 
to go out. 

" I feel stronger to-day," said she, in 
answer to her friend's look of inquiry ; " and 
I wish so much to see your home ! I must 
be able to picture you to myself there, and 
I cannot do so without seeing it." 

*' Ah, Helen ! do not think of me — I strive 
not to think of myself." 

" But you will let me see it — will not 
you?" 

'^ Let you ? — I may perhaps learn to love 
it if you come there, even though only for 
once..." 

Helen was wheeled along in Evelyn's gar- 
den-chair ; and Lady Charles walked by her 
side, with a sad presentiment that this would 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 955 

be her last expedition — the last time she 
would leave her home alive. 

As thej thus proceeded, many a cottager, 
attracted by the unusual sight, came out to 
greet the invalid with a smile and a curtsey 
as she passed; rejoicing that she was well 
enough to be once more out in the open air. 
But they generally retreated with a sigh, as 
they marked the pale countenance, sunken 
eye, and hollow voice ! It was too evident 
thatpoorMrs. Percy was notlongfor this world. 

Helen took a keen interest in everything 
relating to the cottage, where her memory 
she well knew would be cherished. She 
would go into every room, and carefully ex- 
amine each. At length, overcome by so 
unusual a fatigue, she sank down on a chair 
in the little sunny parlour that overlooked the 
road to Eridge. 

" This would be my favourite room, I think," 
said she ; " and here I shall like to picture you." 

'* Where you will !" returned the other 



^56 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

sadly ; " it will be all alike to me — all filled 
with memories of you." 

" And of my first visit — perhaps my last," 
said Helen, pressing her hand with emotion ; 
" but fear not ! though I shall be no longer 
with you, you will not sorrow as one that has 
no hope. Here," she continued, taking from 
her bag her own small, well-worn bible, 
" here is my legacy. I give it you whilst 
life is yet warm within me. I leave it here, 
in your home, which I trust may be cheered 
and illumined by its influence, when my voice 
shall be hushed, and my spirit at peace. Then, 
indeed, my memory shall be a blessing to 
you, as I would have it, and — so I would be 
remembered !" 

As she spoke, she made an effort to rise, 
and placed the book on one of the small empty 
book-shelves. 

'^ Let it lie there," said she faintly, " till 
all is over with me ! Then open it ; and may 
its pages speak to you of the time when we 



EVELYN HARCOTTRT. 257 

shall meet again — when this corruptible shall 
put on incorruption — this mortal, immor- 
tality ! Will you promise me ?" 

Lady Charles pressed her hand to her lips : 

" I do — I do !" was all she could say. 

*' And now," said Helen, after a pause of a 
few moments, during w^hich her companion 
had succeeded, as usual, in repressing the 
rising agony, ** there is yet another visit I 
would pay — can you guess it ? — " 

There was little difficulty — it was to the 
grave of her child — and, when she reached the 
quiet spot, she wept long and silently, for it 
was the last time she should ever drop a tear 
upon his tombstone, or pray there for that 
angel spirit whose earthly image rested under- 
neath. But Lady Charles had promised to 
cherish that spot — to tend the flowers and 
shrubs her hand had planted there — and soon 
she too should rest beneath that turf, whilst her 
spirit — to what regions of bliss and immortality 
mio^ht that not have soared... ? 



258 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

Helen was sensibly the worse for the exer- 
tion and excitement of this day. She never 
rallied after it, nor left the house again. 

Lady Charles was incessantly urging her 
to allow that Evelyn should be written to ; — 
in her opinion, it was wrong, utterly wrong, 
to conceal from her any longer the critical 
state of one to whom she was so deeply at- 
tached. It would only make the shock more 
dreadful when it came. But Helen con- 
tinually postponed this bitter duty. " It is 
not yet time," would she say. " Leave her 
yet a short period of happiness. Do not 
mar her first pure joy — the sorrow will come 
soon enough !" 

And in a little time, she rejoiced that she 
had done so ; for letters arrived from Arthur 
Sherborne which filled her indeed with hope 
and gladness — such gladness as she had never 
expected to feel for Evelyn on this side the 
grave. It seemed that he had taken her to 
London, where he had shown her to Mr. A , 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 259 

the eminent oculist, who had at once pro- 
nounced her blindness curable by an operation 
which he had every hope of performing favour- 
ably. Such news, wonderful, and almost 
incredible as it seemed, was indeed received 
with fervent gratitude by Helen — the more 
fervent, because it was so wholly unexpected. 

Dr. A , the medical man under whose 

care Evelyn had been during her illness, had 
always spoken so positively of the hopeless 
nature of her infirmity, that not the shadow 
of a doubt upon the subject had ever crossed 
the mind of either Helen or Evelyn herself, 
who, indeed, had a peculiar and almost mor- 
bid dislike to having her eyes examined by 
any one. It seemed, however, that Dr. 
A , more skilled in cases of loss of intel- 
lect than in those of loss of sight, had taken 
an erroneous view of her case ; w^hich, indeed, 
was a very peculiar one in all respects.* 

* A singular case of blindness, something similar to this, 

is recorded in ' Travers's Synopsis of the diseases of the eye.' 

' The eye became the subject of a superficial but violent 



260 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

Now, indeed, Helen had reason to rejoice 
that she had allowed her darling to remain 
so long in ignorance of her own precarious 
state of health ; and not by a word to alarm 
or agitate her would she endanger the per- 
fect success of this blessed attempt at cure. 
In the mean time, she counted the days — 
almost the hours — till she could hear ; and 
trembled each morning, as the letters ar- 
rived, lest they should bring some unfavour- 
able news. But none came; and, in due 
time, a few short and agitated lines from 
Arthur Sherborne announced the fact that 
the operation had been performed, and under 
every favourable circumstance ; but that 
many days must yet elapse before a decided 
opinion could be formed as to its success. 

Oh ! how the time seemed to lag after that 

inflammation from sympathy with its fellow, which was 
acutely inflamed. The cataract was formed in two days. 
The pain was of the most intense kind, affecting the eye- 
balls, temples, and cheek.' 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 261 

letter ! — how slowly, how wearily, amidst in- 
creasing languor and disease, the days went 
by ! But joy came at last ! The long 
wished -for, long-expected letter arrived. 
She had seen I she had actually beheld her 
husband ! Evelyn was no longer blind !... 

Half an hour had not elapsed after the 
arrival of this news, before it was known to 
all the village ; it spread like wildfire ! And 
the bells were ringing a merry peal, and chil- 
dren were shouting in heartfelt glee ; and 
school and lessons were abandoned for that 
day ! Their dear Lady Sherborne had reco- 
vered her sight ! — the whole neighbourhood 
was crazy with joy. 

But Evelyn's rejoicing was in a soberer 
spirit. She would have thanks publicly 
offered for her in the old church where she 
had so recently pronounced her marriage 
vows ; and her first visit, when allowed to go 
out, was, in company with her husband, to 
the house of God. 



262 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

At length, she wrote herself to Helen a 
few touching lines, in token of her recovered 
sight. It was her first letter, and it affected 
Helen sensibly... 

But now, Helen felt it was indeed time to 
awaken her from the dream of pure and per- 
fect joy in which she was indulging — to the 
sad realities of disease, decay, and death. 
She exerted herself to answer her; and it 
was a long and beautiful letter, that last 
which Helen ever wrote ; well fitted to pre- 
pare her, if anything could, for the separation 
which was so shortly to take place. She felt 
sad, however, when she sent it, for she knew 
that it could not but inflict a deep and painful 
wound. And almost incessantly, during the 
following day, her thoughts recurred to 
Evelyn, and she involuntarily pictured to her- 
self, first her careless and unconscious recep- 
tion of that letter ; then, the terrible shock of 
its perusal ; and, lastly, the grief that would 
not soon be comforted. Happily, there was 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 263 

one near her, whose tenderness would soothe 
her, if anythmg could. 

Helen was lying, supported by pillows, on 
the sofa, to which she was now entirely con- 
fined during the day ; and thinking to herself 
that at this very moment, perhaps, Evelyn 
was reading, for the twentieth time, that me- 
lancholy letter — perhaps weeping over it ; 
when, suddenly, a quick step was heard in 
the passage ; the door opened, and Evelyn her- 
self appeared on the threshold. She paused for 
a moment or two, as if struck with horror at 
the sight of Helen's pallid countenance ; — then, 
darting forwards, she threw herself into her 
arms, and burst into a passionate fit of weep- 
ing. 

" Oh ! Helen, Helen ! why have you treated 
me thus ? — why have you concealed this from 
me? — cruel, cruel Helen... !" 

" My love !" said Lady Charles, observing 
that Helen's forehead was becoming damp, 
and that her lips were turning deadly pale. 



264 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

" jou must not agitate her thus. She is too 
weak to bear it." 

But Evelyn clasped her hands together. 
She scarcely seemed to hear these words. 

" Oh ! Helen, to see you again for the first 
time, and to find you thus — to recover my 
sight, but for this !..." 

" You would not have known me, my 
Evelyn ; — that is what you would say. Yet 
I am still the same in spirit, though the out- 
ward form is changed, and fading fast away. 
Let us not shorten the little time that yet 
remains to pass together, by giving way to 
useless sorrow. Here is one," turning to 
Lady Charles with an affectionate smile, 
" who grieves to lose me as you do ; — but she 
will tell you that she has learnt to rejoice, for 
my sake, that I am going where no sorrow 
can any more touch me — no trial disturb. 
Remember, love, * where the treasure is, 
there shall the heart be also !' and mj/ trea- 
sure is not here . . " 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 965 

But Evelyn could scarcely listen : — she 
could do nothing but weep — still weep bitterly 
and passionately ! The blow was as yet too 
recent ! too overwhelming ! She could not 
bear it... 

And Helen was not able to witness such 
agonizing sorrow without being powerfully 
affected by it. It ended in her being seized 
with a faintness so deadly, that she was with 
the utmost difficulty restored to life and con- 
sciousness. As she lay there, pale and inani- 
mate, like one already beyond the reach of all 
human emotion, Evelyn, subdued by the 
melancholy spectacle, and trembling lest her 
spirit should each moment desert its frail 
companion, made an earnest and solemn vow 
within herself, that never again would she 
thus yield to her emotions in her presence, 
nor disturb the peace of her departing soul 
by the sight of her own passionate grief. 

She softly retreated to her chamber, and 
there, in silence and solitude, poured out her 

VOL. III. N 



966 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

soul in prayer; and strove, after so many 
weeks of intense and bewildering happiness, 
to subdue her spirit to the stern and bitter 
realities of grief — a grief the more into- 
lerable, because it found her so wholly un- 
prepared. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 2fi7 



CHAPTER XLIV. 

Baptista. .... 'tis a match. 

Gremio. Was ever match clapped up so suddenly ? 

Taming of the Shrew. 

Petruchio. We will have rings, and things, and fine 
array. 

Ibid. 

Petruchio. I am as peremptory as she proud-minded, 
And where two raging fires meet together, 
They do consume the thing that feeds their fury. 

Ibid. 

One woe doth tread upon another's heel. 

Hamlet. 

The corse did with desperate hand 

Foredo its own life. 

Ibid. 

It was about this time that the public 
papers teemed with accounts of an event 
which, by recalling certain bitter recollections 
of former days, excited in Evelyn's mind 
many and varied sensations ; the chief of 

N 2 



96S EVELYN HARCOURT. 

which, however, was joy — the most intense joy- 
as well as thankfulness at her present happy 
lot. 

This event was nothing less than the mar- 
riage of his Grace the Duke of Shetland ; 
the object of whose choice was the Lady 
Adeliza Blois, youngest daughter of George 
Blois Percy Blois, tenth Marquis of Blois, 
Earl of Blentville and Bewdley, and lord of 
half a dozen places besides. The fair fiancee 
was young, singularly beautiful, and emi- 
nently accomplished ; and being well fitted 
both by birth and education for the distin- 
guished position which the Duchess of Shet- 
land must necessarily occupy, it was no great 
matter of marvel to any one that the Duke, 
who had been frequently heard to observe of 
late that he was bored to extinction, and 
really must '^ faire une firC' at last, should 
have selected her to share the ennuis of his 
princely lot with him, and, by sharing, lessen 
them. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 269 

It seemed perfectly natural, indeed, and 
the world thought so ; but the world seldom 
knows the real motives which influence the 
actions it takes upon itself either to justify 
or condemn. It did not know now that the 
Duke had proposed to Lady Adeliza exactly 
one hour after he had heard at his club of 
the successful result of Evelyn Sherborne's 
operation, and that there was no doubt of 
the ultimate restoration of her sight. It did 
not know, moreover, as he did, that he had 
risen that morning without the most remote 
intention of proposing at all, and that such 
an idea, as connected with the young lady in 
question, had never, before the hour in which 
he did so, even so much as crossed his brain ! 
Neither did it know, whilst looking ap- 
provingly on at the magnificent preparations 
which were shortly * en train'' for this ' mar- 
riaore in hio^h life,' that the astonishment of 
the Lady Adeliza at the offer she had re- 
ceived was equalled only by that of her 



270 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

pompous and worldly mamma, who very 
nearly had a fit in consequence. 

What the world did know was, that no- 
thing ever equalled the splendour of the dia- 
monds which the Duke had had re-arranged 
expressly for his bride (they had never been 
touched till now, since the memorable morn- 
ing when he had offered them to Evelyn), 
and that eager crowds flocked to gaze at 
them, with admiration and envy, during the 
few days they were to be seen at Storr and 
Mortimer's ! What it did know was, that 
nothing so costly, so tasteful, nor so exquisite 
as the trousseau of the bride, had ever before 
been seen in London ; nothing so magnificently 
convenient as her dressing-case ; nothing so 
luxurious nor so perfect in its appointments 
as the carriage that was building for her. 

The world did know all this — and knowing 
it, how could it imagine that she for whom 
all these preparations were making, for whom 
thousands were being expended, and on whom 



EVELYN H ARCOURT. 2 7 1 

tens of thousands more were about to be 
settled, cared as little for the great man who 
showered down these gifts upon her, as she 
did for the mean-looking lawyer's clerk who 
had been employed to copy out her marriage- 
settlements ; and very considerably less than 
she did for her handsome but penniless cousin, 
George de Beauvoir, of the Guards. 

The world never imagined this ! — how could 
it, when in its eyes the match was the most 
suitable and desirable one in every respect 
that could possibly take place ? — when the 
friends of the bridegroom rejoiced that he 
was about to marry at last ? " It was high 
time — they had always said so, but they had 
feared he would never bring himself to the 
point," &c. ; and those of the bride triumphed 
in her good fortune, or envied her the bril- 
liant lot she had secured for herself! To the 
world it all seemed just as it should be — high 
birth, beauty, and accomplishments, on the 
one side ; on the other, unbounded wealth. 



272 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

and an exalted position among the proudest 
of England's peers. Some whispers indeed 
there were, that all was not quite as happy as 
it seemed ; but the world turned a deaf ear 
to these, and heeded them not. Nothing in 
its estimation could be very far wrong, where 
all was so outwardly fair to view. 

They married — and then all was joy, con- 
gratulations, and smiles. But the sequel re- 
mains to be told ; and perhaps we cannot do 
better than relate it here, though in order to 
do so we must anticipate somewhat. The 
lune de miel was not more than half over, 
Avhen the Duke made the unexpected and 
unwelcome discovery that his wife was con- 
siderably less gentle than she looked; in 
a word, that the beautiful young Duchess, 
with her soft, feminine countenance, clear 
skin, and melting blue eyes, was possessed of 
a temper !.,..}iea\ens, what a temper ! It 
can be compared to nothing but the eternal 
dropping of water upon stone, drop after drop, 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 273 

drop after drop, till at length even the hardest 
surface must end by being worn away !... 
It was a daily, hourly, momentary curse — it 
ate into his very soul, it poisoned the whole 
current of his existence. He was not a man 
to give in — to consent for the sake of a quiet 
life to be governed by his wife ; neither was 
she a woman ever to abandon the struggle 
for power. She had ruled her parents — so it 
was said — even from her earliest years ; and 
she would strive her utmost to rule her hus- 
band now. Her selfishness, too, fully equalled 
his ; and we have seen to what an extent he 
carried that odious quality. The conse- 
quence of all this was, that having begun 
with the utmost indifference on both sides, 
they ended with actual and intense hatred of 
one another. Neither of them had long made 
a secret of their true motives for marrying — 
in the one case, it had been ambition ; in the 
other, pique ; — they made no secret of their 
abhorrence of each other now ! 

N 5 



274 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

No child blessed this ill-assorted union; 
and the Duke, one of whose chief objections 
to early marriages had formerly been, that 
his son would be treading on his heels before 
he had acquired either years or patience to 
bear with such an infliction, never had a son 
at all to attempt any liberty of the kind. 
This was, of course, a bitter disappointment 
to both of them ; and the feelings which such 
a mutual tie might possibly have softened 
became, from the absence of it, more bitter 
and acrimonious than ever. ^ He gradually 
settled down into a hard, morose, disap- 
pointed man — difficult of access — prone to 
take offence without cause — violent in his 
political sentiments — rarely, if ever, seen to 
unbend or smile — and shunned even by the 
most familiar of his former associates ; whilst 
she — in spite of her two thousand a year pin- 
money, her beauty, and the almost princely 
magnificence of the palace in which she 
passed her melancholy days, no one who 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 275 

watched the expression of her countenance, 
as lazily reclining in her britzska with her 
Italian greyhound by her side, she took her 
daily drive around the ring, could imagine for 
a moment that rank or riches had succeeded 
in making her happy. 

Her conduct in society, however, was per- 
fectly unexceptionable, and no one, not even 
her most intimate acquaintance, (friends she 
had really none) ever suspected the bitterness 
of the pangs that shot through her proud heart 
when she thought of George de Beauvoir — 
the only being she had ever really loved, and 
who once loved her — nor how truly an object 
of envy in her eyes was the tall, graceful, dark- 
eyed girl who had usurped the place she for- 
merly held in his affections, and whom, occa- 
sionally, whilst rolling along in her magni- 
ficent equipage, she would see leaning on his 
arm, his fond and cherished bride, happy in 
the possession of his love, although she had 
neither carriage to drive in, nor pin-money, 



276 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

nor diamonds, and her drawing-room was 
about one-third of the size of the house- 
keeper's room at Shetland House. 

Years passed away thus — years of fierce 
contention, of bitter disputes and hopeless 
misery to both ; when one summer, during a 
solitary excursion abroad, which had been or- 
dered for him by his physicians, the Duke, 
chancing to pass a couple of days at a small 
town in Germany, learnt by mere accident 
that Lord Truro was there, rapidly sinking 
under the effects of an incurable disease, 
brought on by the excesses of all kinds in 
which he had so long indulged. His wife 
knew nothing whatever of his hopeless condi- 
tion, for he had positively refused to let her 
be informed of it, obstinately persisting, in 
spite of the assurances to the contrary of the 
doctor who attended him, that he should 
speedily recover. Lady Truro believed him 
to be at Paris, and had only a short time 
before sent him a sum of money, which had 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 277 

been forwarded to him from thence, and which, 
like all her former remittances, had been 
squandered away, partly by his worthless 
companion and partly by himself, at play. 
Wlien, therefore, she received the Duke's 
letter, informing her that her unfortunate hus- 
band was no more, the shock was indeed to 
her overwhelming. There was not one re- 
deeming point, one happy thought, on which 
her mind could rest wqth regard to him. He 
had died unreforraed ; as far as she could 
learn, unrepenting : and fearful indeed is such 
a fate ! 

Yet, Lord Truro had been generous, warm- 
hearted, and unselfish once. His natural dis- 
positions had all been good ; but no principle 
of religion or virtue that could keep them so 
or improve them had ever been instilled into 
his youthful mind during those years when it 
would have been peculiarly calculated to re- 
ceive them. His mother had been worldly ; 
and lessons of ambition and worldly wisdom 



278 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

had been all he had ever beard fall from her 
lips. Are we wrong in believing that the 
early instructions of a mother carry with them 
a peculiar weight, and most often bring forth 
fruit in after years, though at the time they 
may have seemed to produce little effect?.... 
We think not. 

But, melancholy as was the end of Lord 
Truro, that of the Duke was more fearful 
still. Only a few days had elapsed since he 
had followed his friend to the grave, when, 
one evening, a little before the hour when his 
valet usually attended his dressing, the whole 
house was alarmed by the report of a pistol in 
his bed-room ; and when they rushed up in a 
body, and at length succeeded in bursting 
open the door, which he had locked inside, it 
was to find their worst fears confirmed, and 
his shattered form stretched on the floor with- 
out a sign of life ! 

What led him to the commission of the rash 
act at that particular time can never now be 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 279 

known. His servants had observed that he 
had been more than usually melancholy and 
abstracted since the day of the funeral, and 
possibly the premature and painful death of a 
man he had once known so intimately might 
have preyed upon his mind, already subject 
to a species of morbid depression, and ended 
by affecting his reason. That such events 
may be, probably always are, the consequence 
of a degree of dejection amounting to actual 
insanity at the time, there can be little, if any, 
doubt ; but one thing is indeed certain, that 
men of the world, properly so called, * who 
live without God in the world,' whilst it is 
smiling around them, and indulge without re- 
straint in its pleasures, will find it hard to 
turn to Him in the hour of sorrow, when that 
dreary and dreadful void — that sinking of the 
spirit — comes over them, which, sooner or later, 
must follow all undue excitement ; whilst, to 
those who seek Him in their youth, using 
moderately of the pleasures which He pro- 



9S0 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

vides, and never abusing them, and who in the 
midst of joy and sunshine rememher the end — 
to such, although trials may come, and their 
spirits may be darkened by gloom and dejection, 
yet shall they not be left without hope ; but, 
* as their day, so shall their strength be.' 

These sad events were not without their 
beneficial and softening effects on the minds 
of the survivors. The Duchess indeed was 
deeply shocked at the news of her husband's 
tragical end, and it produced in her something 
more of serious and solemn reflection than she 
had ever before known. She was not so cold 
nor so utterly hardened, as to feel nothing like 
sorrow for the melancholy fate of the man 
whose name she bore, and whose life she was 
sensible she had rendered miserable. Her 
conscience — for even she had a conscience — 
occasioned her many a bitter pang in after 
years ; and her character, under the influence 
of this sorrow and this remorse, became to a 
certain degree improved. But the habits of 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 281 

pride and selfishness in which she had so long 
indulged were become too inveterate to be 
easily broken through ; and though from this 
period her conduct was far more guided by 
principle and a sense of duty than it had ever 
been before, yet she never became either an 
amiable or a happy person. Her after life 
passed away in dull and melancholy grandeur, 
uncheered, unblessed by any of those tender 
sympathies, those gentle affections, which, by 
leading us out of ourselves, and uniting us 
with our kind, ever incalculably increase our 
own happiness. 

On Lady Truro, the * uses of adversity ' 
produced a far sweeter and more harmonizing 
effect. She spent much of her time in after 
life with Sir Aubrey and Lady Harcourt; 
with Susan Tyrrell, the sister of the latter, 
one who, like her, had been schooled in ad- 
versity, and under it had attained a perfection 
of character so rare, that even the observation 
of it produced a beneficial effect on all who 



282 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

knew her; with the Sherbornes and Lady 
Charles, to whom in particular she ended by- 
attaching herself deeply, and whose solitary 
life she was the means of cheering by her 
affectionate sympathy. With such associates, 
her mind lost in time the hard and worldly 
tone it had formerly acquired; her objects, 
her aim in life became of a higher kind, and 
sorrow with her brought forth the fruits it is 
ever intended to produce. 

But we linger too long on such details. 
Let us return to one whose closing life affords 
so striking a contrast to the sad and painful 
events we have just related ; for her life had 
been a constant preparation for its termina- 
tion, and death to her seemed but the entrance 
to a far happier existence. 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 283 



CHAPTER XLV. 

The moon is up — by Heaven, a lovely eve ! 
Long streams of light o'er dancing waves expand. 

Childe Harold. 

" Mourn not for me!" the happy Seraph cries, 

Exulting ; " Lo, I gain my native skies ! 

Oh think, when past a few eventful years 

Of toil and sorrow, in this vale of tears, 

There we shall meet, released from every pain — 

There we shall meet — nor ever part again!" 

Mrs. Hemans. 

Spirit, rise ! — to thee is given 
The light, etherial wing of Heaven. 

Ibid. 

There was now indeed sorrow at the Priory 
— a change for the worse had taken place 
within the last few days, and Helen was no 
longer able to move without assistance. Still, 
as is not uncommon in cases of decline, her 
appetite continued surprisingly good, and her 
sufferings had not much increased. Dr. Wil- 
liams thought she might yet linger on some 



284 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

time, though much would probably depend 
upon the degree of severity of the winter, 
which, up to this period, had been most un- 
usually mild. 

Ah! what a melancholy group was that now 
assembled beneath that roof! They moved 
with stealthy tread throughout the house — 
they spoke in subdued tones — their counte- 
nances were sad and anxious — their eyes often 
full of tears ; for one inexpressibly beloved 
was about to depart from amongst them ; and 
they felt that soon they should look upon that 
face no more. 

But she still strove unceasingly to render 
the idea of her death familiar to them — to 
accustom their minds to it by imperceptible 
degrees. She ever spoke to them of her own 
peace in dying, her increasing joy in the 
prospect of eternity, as she drew nearer and 
nearer to the last solemn barrier — her hope of 
beholding them again in regions of light and 
glory. And, in these latter moments, her 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 285 

spirit seemed to have acquired a more power- 
ful and sublime energy, a clearer perception 
of the divine truths in which she trusted, and 
her countenance, wan and wasted as it was, a 
more heavenly expression. She was no longer 
the reserved and retiring being they had 
always known her ; a new life seemed to have 
suddenly sprung up in her, a kind of foretaste 
of the immortality to which she was rapidly 
hastening. 

One beautiful moonlight night, they had 
moved her sofa near the window, in order 
that she might look out upon the prospect 
she loved so well — the smooth lawn — the dark 
evergreens — the leafless but picturesque trees 
— the distant church spire — the beautiful and 
calm river — all lighted up by the exquisite 
radiance of an unclouded moon. 

" Dear ones !" said she, as they sat grouped 
around her, their thoughts, their hearts, their 
eyes, all directed towards her, and watching 
to catch every feeble word uttered by her 



286 EVELYN HAKCOURT. 

cherished and failing voice. *^ How pleasant 
to see you thus altogether, and how happy 
am I in these, my last moments, to be sur- 
rounded by all those I love so well; Evelyn, 
too, no longer blind ! How different it might 
have been ! A little later, and her sight would 
have been restored in vain for me — now I 
have nothing to wish for, scarcely anything to 
regret. Sometimes, indeed, I fancy I wish 
the spring were come again !" 

'* Ah, how you will enjoy it !" exclaimed 
Evelyn, eagerly catching at anything that 
looked like a future hope. " How you will 
enjoy the fresh flowers, and the songs of our 
favourite nightingales ! Do you remember 
how we loved to listen to them ? You shall 
lie on your sofa, under the shade of the lime- 
trees, and I will read to you, and watch over 
you, and serve you ! — it is my turn now !" 

But Helen laid her thin, transparent hand 
upon her arm. 

'* I shall never see another spring on earth," 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 287 

said she, with something almost of melancholy 
in her tone. " Before the violets bloom again, 
and the nightingales sing, I shall ' go hence 
and be no more seen !' But it is better so — 
better to leave the world while all is bare and 
desolate around — bearing, as it were, the like- 
ness of death, than in the breezy, hopeful 
days of spring, full of a joy and loveliness 
that might almost make one regret to die. 
And as the seed which now lies concealed in 
the cold bosom of the earth shall burst forth 
afresh and put forth blossoms, so shall my 
spirit live again to behold a far more glorious 
spring, the commencement of an undying 
year ! See," she continued, after a short 
pause, and turning to the window, " how 
calm, how lovely, how little like a winter's 
night ! Ah, I am indeed blessed in all things ! 
And you — you are all so good to me — so 
indulgent !" 

" Do not talk so," cried Evelyn, reproach- 
fully. " It is almost a mockery. What have 



288 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

we done for you ? whilst you have devoted 
your energies, your thoughts, your health, to 
our good. Me, above all, what have you not 
done for me ? Do I not owe my happiness, 
my life, my very reason, under Providence, to 
you? Ah, Helen!...." 

" Dearest, the little I have done, was done 
gladly — and my only grief is that I can never 
do anything for you again. But you will not 
forget me, any of you, of that I am well 
assured; — and you must think of me as I would 
have you, not with regret, as one you would 
recal, but rather with rejoicing, that I have 
found the rest I souo^ht." 

As she spoke, her eyes lighted up with an 
unusual brilliancy, and she pointed to the sky 
with a gesture of indescribable hope and ex- 
ultation. 

They were silent — there was not one of 
them at that moment who did not look upon 
her rather with envy than with sorrow. They 
might grieve for themselves, but not for her ! 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 289 

And thus she continued to converse, quietly 
and hopefully, at intervals, as they sat around 
her gazing at the beautiful night ; and some- 
times Evelyn and Arthur would take a turn 
together to the adjoining library, and she 
would think to herself what a blessing it was 
to have him there — and to listen to their 
voices, and to see the doting expression of her 
eyes as they rested upon him — and to feel 
that they were all near her— Lady Charles 
too — all she most loved. — 

At length the bell sounded for prayers, and 
Arthur was proposing that the servants should 
assemble in another room, as the noise and 
lights would be too much for her, when she 
eagerly interrupted him. 

" Let them come here," said she; " it will 
not fatigue me, indeed — and there need be no 
lights, if you will but allow me to say prayers 
to them myself. I shall so like it once more ; 
— and I shall never be able again ..." 

" Oh, Helen !" cried Evelyn, fearing she 

VOL. IIL O 



290 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

knew not what ; '* do not attempt it. It is 
more, much more than you are equal to. 
Think how weak your voice is — and your 
cough ..." 

" Ah ! let me try this once," said Helen, 
beseechingly; *' I shall never ask again." 

" Indulge her, my love !" whispered Lady 
Charles in a subdued tone. 

She had perceived better than Evelyn how 
vain was all care, all precaution, now. 

The servants were told that Mrs. Percy 
would say prayers to them herself ; — and one 
by one they entered with a stealthy footstep 
and a beating heart — poor old Mrs. Owen at 
their head. All felt it was a kind of parting. 

Helen perceived that they were affected at 
the sight of her, and she spoke kindly to them. 

'* I was anxious to bid you all good bye 
whilst I yet could," said she ; " for I have 
received good offices from all of you ; and 
from some far more — affectionate regard, and 
long and faithful duty. Let us pray together! 



EVELYN HARCOURT. 291 

It may be — probably it will be — the last time 
my voice will be raised with yours in suppli- 
cation to Heaven, bat we can in no better 
way take leave of each other than by joining 
once more in this act of devotion, which we 
have so often before performed together." 

The burst of emotion with which these 
words were received at first somewhat over- 
powered her; — but she soon recovered, and 
joining her hands, in a voice which, though 
feeble, w^as wonderfully clear, repeated one of 
the most beautiful prayers of our church, whilst 
all knelt silently and reverently near. 

It was a touching and most impressive 
scene. The light of the moon shone full into 
that chamber upon the figures of those kneel- 
ing with bowed heads around — and upon the 
shadowy form of the dying Helen ; — and as 
she raised her eyes towards Heaven, her fea- 
tures, illumined by its rays, assumed an almost 
celestial expression. And such was the hush 

— the perfect stillness of that chamber, broken 

o 2 



292 EVELYN HARCOURT. 

only by occasional faint sobs whicb could not 
be restrained, that the feeble accents of her 
voice sounded clearly in every part, and not a 
vrord was lost. 

" Oh, my Father !" said she, at length, by 
a strong effort slightly raising herself; " bless 
all these thy servants, now assembled before 
thee, and bring them in the end to Thyself! 
Teach them to choose that better part which 
shall never be taken away from them, and 
grant that we may all meet again in thy glo- 
rious Kingdom hereafter ! Support me in my 
dying moments ; and, if it be Thy will, let 
my memory serve for good — that some may 
be encouraged to seek thee, and find peace ! 
Bless those I love with an especial blessing — 
bless all " 

There was a pause — a faint sigh — she fell 
back — 

Her spirit had winged its flight 

THE END. 



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CHARLOTTE CLAYTON, VISCOUNTESS SUNDON, was attached to 
the court of our Hanoverian sovereigns almost as soon as the first of them 
arrived in this country, and shortly obtaining unbounded influence over 
Caroline, Princess of Wales, subsequently Queen, she indirectly exercised con- 
siderable power in the government, and was the medium of communication 
between the Queen and her subj^-cts. even of the highest distinction ; for as 
so()n as she was established as a Royal favourite, she received letters from all 
quarters — church and state, art, literature, and science, apparently rivalling 
each other in urging their representatives to advocate their individual interest 
at St. James's, whilst an equally eager crowd of her own sex, many of them 
belonging to the highest families in the kingdom, were paying court to her, by 
keeping her informed of everything of importance th it was going on within 
their observation ; several of her relatives also being in a* tendance upon the 
royal family, who were likewise in constant communication with her, the amount 
of gossip and anecdote which in time accumulated upon her hands, can scarcely 
be conceived. 

As the Queen felt much interest in the theological controversies then going 
on between what was called the high and low church party, the most distin- 
guished divines readily came forward to instruct her favourite. The letters to 
Lady Sundon, ot Bishop Hoadly ; Talbot, Bishop of Oxford ; the sons of Bishop 
Bur'uet; Dr. Alured, and Dr. Samuel Clarke, therefore form a considerable 
and an important portion of this correspondence. The letters respecting pro- 
ceedings at court, are from the pens of Lord Hervey (the Sporus of Po^ic) ; 
Lady Hervey (better known as the beautiful Mary Lepel); the Countess of 
Pomfiet, so anjusingly referred to by Walpoie ; Katharine, Duchess of Bucking- 
ham ; Henrietta, Duchess of Marlborough ; the Earl and Countess Cowper ; 
t.ie Countesses of Sandwich, Oxford, and Kinnoul ; and many others holding 
offices in the royal household. The illustrations of literature are no less 
amusingly afibrded by Dean Swift, Dr. Delany, Sir Richard Steele, &c. 

The nien.oirs in which this remarkable correspondence is incorporated, also 
contain many interesting particulars respecting the family of George 11.; of 
Lord Carteret; Harley, Earl ot Oxtord ; tiie Boyle family ; Lady Widdrington; 
Wake, Archbishop or Canterbury ; the Duchess ot Kendal ; Lord and Lady 
Granoe; Sir Rob.:rt Walpoie; the Countess of Suffolk; Dr. Middleton, Bishop 
Sherlock; Bishop Berkely, Bubb Doddington; Eustace Budgell; Dr. Bentley; 
the poets Congreve and Savage ; and, in short, of almost every person of cele- 
brity cjntemporary with Lady Sundon. 



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